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Indonesia ups pace to advance bilateral interests

Updated On: Apr 13, 2007

Indonesia is quickening its steps in advancing its interests on the bilateral front, especially in defence cooperation with the United States and China, and an extradition treaty with Singapore.

Ahead of the Indonesia-United States Security Dialogue (IUSSD) in Jakarta next April 17-18, Defense Minister Juwono Sudarsono has put forward a request for the United States to  provide training opportunities for special units in the three branches of the Indonesian National Defense Forces (TNI).

Minister Sudarsono’s request was made on the basis of ongoing goodwill expressed between the two countries in the exchange of officers, defense planning, reviewing of developments in the regional Asia-Pacific situation and joint exercises.

Elsewhere, Indonesia will also be signing an agreement on defense cooperation with China this September, making good on a strategic partnership agreement signed by the two countries' heads of state in April 2005 in Jakarta when Chinese President Hu Jintao visited Indonesia.

According to Brigadier General Edy Butar Butar, a draft agreement has currently been signed by “the secretaries general of the two countries' defense ministries.” Thus far, both countries have fostered cooperation in training and education, exchange of visits, defense industry, joint exercises, joint production, technology transfer, intelligence exchange and defense technology and science.

For the 2007-2008 fiscal year, Beijing intends to offer 21 kinds of education and training programs and courses for 23 Indonesian officers and two colonels to the ASEAN Armed Forces seminar on International Disaster Relief in China.

Besides defence cooperation, concluding an extradition treaty with Singapore has also been on an urgent priority for Indonesia. According to Foreign Affairs Minister Hassan Wirayuda, Indonesia aims to conclude the treaty with Singapore before 2008, preferably at the technical level, by at a ministerial-level if necessary.

To stress the level of urgency, Minister Wirayuda said "The biggest loss is if the extradition agreement cannot be immediately settled. One of the concerns will be public comment about it. The reality is we need the agreement." He added that Singapore also shared the same hope because the two sides had a common concern about the matter.

Currently, two (technical, retroactive principles) out of 19 articles in the agreement remains to be settled. Minister Wirayuda asserted that although Singapore has not completely rejected the issue, it has long been a topic of negotiations so far.

The extradition agreement between the two countries has drawn public interest because it was expected to give the Indonesian government an opportunity to track down the assets of Indonesian corrupters kept or hidden in the neighbouring country. (12 April 2007)

Sources:

RI, China complete draft on defense cooperation agreement (Antara, 9 April 2007)

RI hoping extradition treaty with S`pore settled before 2008 (Antara, 10 April 2007)

RI wants US to train TNI`s special units (Antara, 11 April 2007)