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China, Indonesia to Boost Security Ties

  • Reuters

FILE - A fishing boat motors back to shore on the east coast of Natuna Besar.

FILE - A fishing boat motors back to shore on the east coast of Natuna Besar.

Chinese and Indonesian officials pledged to boost security ties, marine cooperation and infrastructure investment, state media reported on Tuesday, after a diplomatic spat over what Indonesia called a breach of its sovereignty by the Chinese coast guard.

The report came after a meeting between Chinese State Councillor Yang Jiechi, who outranks the foreign minister, and Indonesia's chief security minister Luhut Pandjaitan. Pandjaitan is visiting China this week.

The two countries will strengthen defense ties including in anti-terrorism, law enforcement, curbing narcotics, as well as "marine cooperation," according to the official Xinhua news agency.

Jakarta and Beijing will also work together in the fields of railway, electric power, mining, aerospace, agriculture and fisheries, Xinhua added.

Indonesia attempted to detain a Chinese trawler it accused of fishing in its exclusive economic zone in the South China Sea, prompting the Chinese coast guard to intervene last month.

China has said its vessels were operating in "traditional fishing grounds."

Indonesia is not embroiled in the rival claims with China over the South China Sea and has instead seen itself as an "honest broker" in disputes between China and the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei.

Pandjaitan has previously said Indonesia would maintain good relations with China but "without sacrificing Indonesia's sovereignty," and had urged Chinese ships not to enter Indonesia's maritime territory near the northern Natuna Islands, where Indonesia said the incident took place.

China's increasingly assertive military posture in the South China Sea, a strategic shipping corridor that is also rich in fish and natural gas, has rattled the United States and its allies in Southeast Asia.