Luhut: Indonesia, China to Step Up Strategic Security Partnership

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  • Coordinating Minister of Political, Legal and Security Affairs Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan. TEMPO/Subekti

    Coordinating Minister of Political, Legal and Security Affairs Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan. TEMPO/Subekti

    TEMPO.CO, Jakarta-The Coordinating Minister for Politics, Legal, and Security Affairs, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, said that his recent visit to China was aimed to step up cooperation and partnership in relation to regional security, as well as to ease tension between both nations - which had escalated following several run-ins relating to illegal fishing in the disputed waters near the South China Sea.

    "The point of my visit was to improve bilateral relations between Indonesia and China," said Luhut at the Coordinating Ministry for Politics, Legal, and Security Affairs Office in Central Jakarta in Central Jakarta on Thursday, April 28, 2016.

    According to Luhut, the focus of the cooperation will mainly revolve around security - especially cyber security and maritime affairs. "We want to come to a mutual understanding when we talk about fishing in the South China Sea - some sort of a win-win solution," he said.

    "Maybe we can come up with some sort of a deal, where both parties can work together to fish in the South China Sea, but then produces will be brought into Indonesia, where processing plants could be built to add value to the raw products," he continued, adding that he is optimistic that increased cooperation and communication with China will help defuse tension in the region, which mainly centers around claims to the boundaries of the South China Sea, and illegal fishing among neighbouring countries.

    "We don't need to speak up and make a riot out of nothing. This time around, when we have a problem, we'll discuss it internally - face to face," said Luhut. "There's really no need to seek the spotlight by talking to the press about our problems."

    Last Tuesday, Luhut met with Yang Jiechi in his capacity as a Counsellor for the People's Republic of China in Beijing, China, where both reached an agreement to respect the boundaries and sovereignty of each nation. "We also discussed the possibility of cooperation in other fields - including agriculture, maritime affairs, strategic security as well as defence," he said.

    It is known that the Minister also met with bigwigs from eleven of China's biggest companies in the infrastructure development sector - some of which, like Power-China International Group Ltd., has already invested a significant amount in Indonesia, as much as US$5 billion. In the occasion, Luhut gave a general briefing about Indonesia - including the current state of security, the progress of infrastructure development, as well as Indonesia's untapped natural resources potential.

    YOHANNES PASKALIS