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Indonesia’s increased presence in and around the region

Updated On: Feb 10, 2006

Of late, Indonesia has been increasing its diplomatic presence and prominence, by speaking on the Iranian nuclear crisis and facilitating meeting between North andSouth Korea.

Currently, Indonesia Special Envoy, Nana Sutresna, is in Pyongyang now to bring the two Korean Defence Ministers to the negotiating table in Indonesia.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono had apparently also extended an invitation to North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il to visit Indonesia, and a Jakarta Post report on 9th Feb noted that Kim has said he will visit Indonesia

If indeed Kim were to visit Indonesia, this would be highly unusual since Kim rarely travels abroad and was known to shun planes.

In another report in the Straits Times, Indonesia is also determined to increase its presence on outer islands on the fringes of its territory this year.  The 92 islands each of which is less than 2000 sq km in size are dotted along the sea border separating Indonesia and SingaporeMalaysiaEast Timor, the PhilippinesVietnam,Australia and India.

The drive to assert sovereignty over these islands comes amid Indonesia’s ongoing competing claims with Malaysia over the Ambalat region, and the loss of Sipadan and Ligitan to Malaysia after the ruling by the International Court of Justice.

Indonesia would be investing some three trillion rupiah (S$533 million) mostly in the construction of infrastructure such as lighthouses, seaports, transport and communication lines to secure these islands.

In the meantime, it is noted that Indonesian navy has intensified patrols on waters around these islands but the costs are a concern.

Sources:

Meeting between two Defence Ministers of two Koreas to be held in Bandung, Antara News Agency, 9 Feb 2006

North Korean leader states intention to visit Indonesia, The Jakarta Post, 9 Feb 2006

Indonesia to increase its presence on outer islands, The Straits Times, 9 Feb 2006