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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid