Subject: RI-US Military Ties [4 updates]: Natural Regional Leader: Gen. Pace [+Arms Sales]

2 JP updates (+Antara & ST):

- U.S. regards RI natural regional leader, friend

- update: RI, U.S. to pursue closer defense ties

- RI mulls offers of military equipment from Britain, Poland, China, South Korea

- ST: US general calls for joint drills with Indonesian troops

The Jakarta Post Wednesday, February 14, 2007

U.S. regards RI natural regional leader, friend

Abdul Khalik, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The highest ranking member of the U.S. armed forces has said the U.S. wants to be friends with Indonesia and has praised the country's leadership.

The chairman of the U.S. military's joint chiefs of staff, Gen. Peter Pace, said that he was very comfortable with the relationship that existed between Indonesia and the U.S., as well as that between both countries' armed forces.

"I think the United States has shown that when Indonesia needs help we will come and help, and when you don't need our help anymore we leave. We want to become dependable friends. We want to be here when we are needed and we don't want be here when we are not needed," he told a press conference in Jakarta on Thursday.

Pace did not agree that Indonesia was merely a balancing power against China, which is increasing its military ability.

"We very much agree (with) the leadership role that Indonesia naturally asserts in this region. I don't look at it as some kind of balance against China. I see its position as a natural leader because Indonesia is a large and prosperous country with (a) 220 million plus population," he said.

Indonesia has been regarded by the Bush administration as a strategic power and proof that Islam and democracy are compatible.

Pace said that it was also natural that President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono had become a respected leader in the region when working with leaders from other countries.

Earlier, Pace met with Yudhoyono and other Indonesian defense and military leaders to seek ways on how to improve bilateral military ties as well as discussing international issues.

The U.S. imposed arms restrictions and cut military aid to Indonesia after human rights abuses in Timor Leste in 1992.

The Indonesian Military was then forced to find alternative weapons suppliers.

Although the State Department waived congressional restrictions in November 2005, Indonesia is now trying to diversify its military sources to avoid being too dependent on the U.S. It has entered into military contracts with Russia, China and some EU countries for its military needs.

Pace said that as a sovereign nation, Indonesia could make decisions that were best for its people and armed forces.

"We would like to have the opportunity, I am sure, to compete for some of those contracts," he said.

When asked about China's Jan. 11 anti-satellite missile test, Pace said he did not see it as representing a danger.

"Certainly, China is increasing its capacity. They had an anti-satellite test recently. We now know they have the capability to strike anything in orbit... But I would not tie that directly to a threat. Threat requires intent," he said.

The Chinese satellite knockout was the first successful demonstration of an anti-satellite weapon since the United States destroyed a satellite of its own with a missile in 1985.

Pace said that one of best ways to deal with China is through enhanced economic ties.

"Trade between United States and China has gone (up) exponentially in the last several years. That is good. The more nations trade with each other and become dependent upon each other the less likely they are going to find their way into some kind of conflict," he said.


The Jakarta Post Wednesday, February 14, 2007

RI, U.S. to pursue closer defense ties

M. Taufiqurrahman, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

photo: Military Talk: Indonesian Military Commander Air Chief Marshall Djoko Suyanto (left) escorts U.S. Gen. Peter Pace to a meeting with Defense Minister Juwono Sudarsono in Jakarta on Tuesday. Gen. Pace is here for talks on bilateral military cooperation and the Middle East crisis. JP/R. Berto Wedhatama

A United States general said Tuesday that Indonesia and the U.S. should pursue a closer defense cooperation to anticipate future challenges.

Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Peter Pace also said Jakarta and Washington should continue to strengthen their "bond of friendship".

"It is natural for two democracies to reach out to each other and depend on each other," Pace told a press conference after a meeting with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

Pace is in Indonesia for talks on military and defense cooperation with Yudhoyono and other government officials, including Defense Minister Juwono Soedarsono and Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda.

The visiting U.S. general, who was appointed chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff by President George W. Bush in September 2005 to replace Gen. Richard Myers, said defense cooperation between the U.S. and Indonesia would allow the countries to tackle future problems.

"We can share ideas about how we provide protection for our people and how we participate in peacekeeping operations," he said.

Later Tuesday during a meeting with Juwono, Pace reiterated the importance of the Indonesian Military taking part in peacekeeping missions.

The director general for defense strategy at the Defense Ministry, Maj. Gen. Dadi Susanto, was quoted by Antara news agency as saying that Pace urged Indonesia to take part in peacekeeping operations in countries such as Afghanistan, under the aegis of the United Nations.

Dadi quoted Pace as saying the Indonesian Military would be well-accepted in countries such as Afghanistan given its stature as the largest Muslim country in the world.

Juwono and Pace also discussed measures to safeguard the Malacca Strait, one of the world's busiest and most important shipping lanes.

Pace said the U.S. military would continue providing whatever assistance was required to assure the safety of the Malacca Strait.

The U.S. has deployed maritime radars to help the Indonesian Military monitor the 500-mile long strait, Dadi said.

Defense cooperation between Jakarta and Washington has been an often rocky issue, with the U.S. on a number of occasions slapping military bans on Indonesia.

The U.S. imposed a restriction on military sales and cooperation with Indonesia over concerns about human rights abuses by the Indonesian armed forces in East Timor in 1991. The U.S. Congress has imposed various military restrictions on Jakarta since 1992.

The Bush administration, however, considers Indonesia a strategic partner in the war against terrorism. In November 2005, the U.S. State Department issued a waiver removing all remaining congressional restrictions on U.S. military assistance to Indonesia.


Antara News Wednesday, February 14, 2007

RI mulls offers of military equipment from Britain, Poland, China, South Korea

JAKARTA (Antara): Defense Minister Juwono Sudarsono said Wednesday that his office is now seriously studying the offers of military equipment from several countries including Britain, Poland, China, and South Korea.

"We're studying equipment from Britain, ... We will compare the offers from other countries," Juwono was quoted by Antara news agency as saying after a cabinet meeting Wednesday.

Indonesia currently has nine military planes made in Britain, which are being repaired, "but if spare parts from the country are too expensive, Indonesia will move (to buy aircraft) from other countries."


The Straits Times (Singapore) Wednesday, February 14, 2007

US general calls for joint drills with Indonesian troops

By Salim Osman

JAKARTA - SOLDIERS from the United States and Indonesia should train together to strengthen military ties between the two countries, said visiting US military chief Marine General Peter Pace.

He said that putting troops through their paces side by side in military exercises would promote better military partnerships as they interact during training.

'It would be good for the two countries,' said Gen Pace, who is chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, at a press conference in the Indonesian capital.

He had earlier met President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Defence Minister Juwono Sudarsono, armed forces chief Djoko Sutyanto and the chiefs of the three services of Indonesia's armed forces.

Washington sees Indonesia as a key ally in the fight against terrorism.

It restored full military ties with Jakarta little more than a year ago after cutting them over human rights abuses linked to Indonesian troops in East Timor, now named Timor Leste.

In his talks with Dr Yudhoyono, Gen Pace said, they also discussed the possibility of peacekeeping duties by Indonesian troops in Lebanon.

In addition, he said: 'We talked about the possibility of having more officers and non-commissioned officers from Indonesia for training in the US.'

The general responded candidly to questions about the US reaction to Indonesia's move to diversify its military purchases and reduce its reliance on the United States.

'Indonesia is a sovereign country,' he said. ' Your government made a decision which it thinks is the best for your country.'

But the US, he said, would want to compete for the defence contracts.

He was comfortable with the state of military relations between the two countries.

'The US has shown that when Indonesia needs our help, we will come and that when you no longer need the help, we will leave.'

He said that both sides expressed their mutual concern over the development of nuclear power in Iran.


Terjemahan (atas jasa "Kataku")

------------------------------------------ Joyo Indonesia News Service

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