News / Asia

Indonesia, China Press US on Spying Allegations

Demonstrators hold signs and a picture supporting Edward Snowden outside the Consulate General of the United States in Hong Kong, June 13, 2013.
Demonstrators hold signs and a picture supporting Edward Snowden outside the Consulate General of the United States in Hong Kong, June 13, 2013.
Kate Lamb
As the U.S. government faces continued pressure to explain its international spying operations, new allegations have emerged about the extent of U.S. surveillance in Asia. 

The Indonesian Foreign Ministry has summoned America’s top diplomat in Jakarta to clarify allegations the U.S embassy has been spying on its president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
 
Relying on recent documents leaked by former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden, media reports indicate the U.S embassy in Jakarta houses wiretapping equipment that has been used to monitor the president and other Indonesian leaders.
 
The foreign minister said the activities would not only qualify as security breaches, but also as a serious ‘violation of diplomatic norms and ethics,’ and has demanded the U.S explain.
 
Political analyst Aleksius Jemadu from Jakarta’s Pelita Harpan University said the claims could undermine the relationship between the two countries.
 
“I think the U.S. government has to have to the courage to explain, in order to restore the trust that is really needed in order to strengthen and to develop a good relationship, taking into account that Indonesia plays a key role in the stability in Southeast Asia,” Aleksius said.
 
Deputy Chief of Mission Kristen Bauer, the U.S. embassy official who was summoned by the foreign ministry, declined to comment.
 
Indonesia is a key regional ally for the United States, particularly as a diplomatic counter to China’s aggressive territorial claims in the South China Sea.

Other U.S. allies have expressed outrage over reports about the extent of U.S. surveillance of foreign leaders.  
 
The State Department has declined to respond to specific claims, saying only that reviews of intelligence gathering will be complete by the end of the year.
 
But the revelations of the extent of the National Security Agency’s overseas activities have highlighted how some U.S. allies participate in spying.
 
Media reports based on the NSA documents reveal that Australia has allowed covert NSA programs to operate in its embassies in Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, China and East Timor. The documents describe the facilities as carefully concealed within embassy compounds. Most diplomatic staff reportedly are unaware they exist.  
 
Professor Hikmahanto Juwana, a law professor from the University of Indonesia, said those allegations could be even more damaging.
 
“I think it is going to be very difficult for the Indonesian government to go against the U.S. very harshly. However this is different with Australia because Indonesia sees Australia as less powerful and I think the Indonesian government can make a big fuss about this issue,” the professor said.
 
Juwana said Indonesia could refuse to cooperate on some critical issues with Australia, such as efforts to stop people smugglers.
 
The uproar over U.S. spying follows previous criticism from China, Russia and India that the United States has too much control over infrastructure in the cyber sphere.
 
In Beijing Thursday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying demanded the United States explain its use of Australian embassies for spying.
 
She said China is extremely concerned about this report, adding that they ask all foreign embassies in China to respect the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and not get involved with activities that harm Beijing's security and interests.
 
This week Japan’s Kyodo news agency reported that in 2011, the NSA asked Tokyo to help it access fiber optic cables carrying communications from China. The report said Japanese officials refused over concerns it would violate Japanese wiretap laws.

You May Like

Brutality Eroding IS Financial Support

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper says IS's penchant for publicizing beheadings, other brutal forms of punishment hurts group’s bottom line More

Studies: Climate Change a Factor in Disasters in Syria, California

The studies point to the possibility of clear and present dangers from a threat often considered to be far in the future More

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials and human rights organizations assert that Pakistani authorities are using deadly attack at school in Peshawar as pretext to push out Afghan refugees More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: HD from: US
October 31, 2013 8:53 PM
Spy vs innocents

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukrainei
X
March 03, 2015 3:11 AM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukraine

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video US, Cuba Report Progress in Latest Talks to Restore Ties

The United States and Cuba say they have made progress in the second round of talks on restoring diplomatic relations more than 50 years after breaking off ties. Delegations from both sides met in Washington on Friday to work on opening embassies in Havana and Washington and iron out key obstacles to historic change. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas reports from the State Department.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video NYC's Restaurant Week: An Economic Boom in Fine Dining

New Yorkers take pride in setting world trends — in fashion, the arts and fine dining. The city’s famous biannual Restaurant Week plays a significant role in a booming tourism industry that sustains 359,000 jobs and generates $61 billion in yearly revenue. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
Video

Video Brookhaven at Cutting Edge of US Energy Research

Issues like the Keystone XL pipeline, fracking and instability in the Middle East are driving debate in the U.S. about making America energy independent. Recently, the American Energy Innovation Council urged Congress and the White House to make expanded energy research a priority. One beneficiary of increased energy spending would be the Brookhaven National Lab, where clean, renewable, efficient energy is the goal. VOA's Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More