News / USA

US-Indonesia Expand Defense Partnership

U.S. Marines take their position during a joint amphibious assault exercise with their Indonesian counterparts on Banongan beach in Situbondo, East Java, Indonesia, June 5, 2012.
U.S. Marines take their position during a joint amphibious assault exercise with their Indonesian counterparts on Banongan beach in Situbondo, East Java, Indonesia, June 5, 2012.
Sara Schonhardt
The United States is furthering its defense partnership with Indonesia by committing to securing the waters in Southeast Asia against threats posed by terrorism, piracy and renewed territorial tensions. China, too, is building its naval presence in the region.

Some of the world’s most vital shipping lanes cross through Indonesia, a country of more than 17,000 islands. With billions of dollars in trade moving through the waters each year, U.S. officials say the country is key to maintaining regional peace and stability.

As part of a pivot toward the Asia-Pacific announced by U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta last June, the United States is looking to enhance its partnership with Indonesia in several areas, including maritime security.

The goal is to work with regional allies to combat common threats, says Captain Adrian Jansen, the naval attaché at the U.S. Embassy, who spoke at a public gathering in Jakarta this week.

“Indonesia and the U.S. face many common threats - the threat of conflict in the South China Sea, the threat of piracy on the seas, natural disasters that injure our nations, the threat of terrorism and the spread of weapons of mass destruction that the threaten our very existence,” Jansen stated.

Analysts warn the United States needs to use those common threats to engage more with China. Otherwise, the increased American  presence could spark conflicts with Beijing, which is also expanding its regional influence.

Collin Koh is an associate research fellow at the Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore.

“If we look at the sort of actions that we see to date, it seems pretty evident that the U.S. pivot is primarily targeted at containing China’s emergence," he said. "Which coincided with China’s growing power and its growing assertiveness.”

As part of its naval engagement, the United States has conducted training exercises focused on counter-piracy and enhanced warfare techniques. Those exercises have grown significantly since the U.S. resumed military ties with Indonesia in 2005.  

Meanwhile, China has also expanded its trade and defense relations. Indonesian media reported the recent sale of C-705 missiles to equip more than a dozen Indonesian warships. The two countries are also set to sign a technology-transfer contract that would allow Indonesia to produce the missiles domestically.

The increased cooperation comes as disputes intensify among China and several members of the Association of SouthEast Asian Nations.

Four of the 10 members of that regional grouping claim sovereignty of parts of the South China Sea. But China claims nearly the entire area. In the past, Philippine and Vietnamese fishing fleets have had dramatic standoffs with Chinese vessels in the remote waters, sparking worries that the dispute could lead to open conflict.

On Tuesday, Hao Yinbiao, an official at the Chinese Embassy in Jakarta, said China is committed to diplomatic negotiations and refuted concerns that China’s increasingly aggressive actions would lead to confrontation.

“A growing country tends to be believed by other people to have some conflicts with the existing powers and influences. We have no other agenda, like sentiments against the United States of America,” Yinbiao noted.

Indonesia does not claim any of the contested territory and, in the past, has played a key role as a broker in the dispute.  But, after failing to reach any substantive agreement on the South China Sea during the last ASEAN summit, there are some analysts who worry the dispute could become a battle for regional influence that could compromise ASEAN unity - despite Indonesia’s efforts to broker a deal.

You May Like

FIFA Indictments Put Gold Cup Tournament Under Cloud

Experts say US indictments could lead to charges of other world soccer officials, and lead to major shakeup in sport's governance More

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

At a recent even in Seoul, border communities promoted benefits of increased cooperation and North Korean defectors shared stories of life since the war More

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows to Fight IS 'Until They Are Killed or We Die'

In wide-ranging interview with VOA Persian service reporter, Fuad Masum describes conflict as new type of fight that will take time to win More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: A R Sopamena from: Indonesia
February 09, 2013 10:52 PM
I am agree to keep up and maintain the naval engagement, the United States has conducted training exercises focused on counter-piracy and enhanced warfare techniques. Those exercises have grown significantly since the U.S. resumed military ties with Indonesia in 2005 and hopefully will be continued for future South East global security. Bravo for Obama Administration

by: Davis Thanjan
January 30, 2013 11:42 AM
Indonesia is between the devil and the sea, namely China and the US. Indonesia is involved with the US in conducting more military and naval exercises since 2005. At the same time Indonesia is buying C-705 missiles from China to equip more than a dozen warships and missile technology transfer from China. Who is the enemy or friend of Indonesia? Why there is so much military activity in Indonesia getting military assistance from both the US and China? Is Indonesia a reliable partner with the US or China?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs