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

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Before burial at overflowing cemeteries, unidentified dead being swapped for DNA, in case some day relatives come to learn their fate

    Russian Opposition Leader Sues Putin for Conflict of Interest

    Alexei Navalny tells VOA in exclusive interview why transfer of $2 billion from country’s wealth fund to company with ties to President Putin’s son-in-law triggered lawsuit

    How Diversity Has Changed America

    Over the past four decades, the level of diversity in the United States has increased most in these four states

    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.
    As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Filli
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 11, 2016 8:01 PM
    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video US Co-ed Selective Service Plan Stirs Controversy

    Young women may soon be required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, the U.S. government agency charged with implementing a draft in a national emergency. Top Army and Marine Corps commanders told the Senate Armed Services Committee recently that women should register, and a bill has been introduced in Congress requiring eligible women to sign up for the military draft. The issue is stirring some controversy, as VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Lessons Learned From Ebola Might Help Fight Zika

    Now that the Ebola epidemic has ended in West Africa, Zika has the world's focus. And, as Carol Pearson reports, health experts and governments are applying some of the lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Africa to fight the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Illinois Voters Have Mixed Emotions on Obama’s Return to Springfield

    On the ninth anniversary of the launch of his quest for national office, President Barack Obama returned to Springfield, Illinois, to speak to the Illinois General Assembly, where he once served as state senator. His visit was met with mixed emotions by those with a front-row seat on his journey to the White House. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Heated Immigration Debate Limits Britain’s Refugee Response

    Compared to many other European states, Britain has agreed to accept a relatively small number of Syrian refugees. Just over a thousand have arrived so far -- and some are being resettled in remote corners of the country. Henry Ridgwell reports on why Britain’s response has lagged behind its neighbors.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.