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

    Turkey, US Splits Deepen Over Support for Kurdish Militants

    Ankara summons American ambassador to protest remarks by State Department spokesman who said Washington does not consider Syria's Kurdish Democracy Union Party (PYD) a terrorist organization

    Obama Seeking $19 Billion for National Cybersecurity

    Move, touted as attempt to build broad, cohesive federal response to cyberthreats, calls for increase in cybersecurity spending across all government agencies

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire, who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the wars in Iraq, Syria and Yemen

    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.
    Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clownsi
    X
    February 09, 2016 8:04 PM
    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay Prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East Affairs and national security.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.