Saturday, May 19, 2007

China opens door to military and other cooperation

Friday, April 20, 2007
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The Chinese ambassador to Jakarta says the door is wide open for Indonesia to establish a security and defense cooperation without any hidden political agenda.

"Within recent years we have seen an increase in military-to-military cooperation between the two sides. China is ready to offer Indonesia military hardware without any political strings," Chinese ambassador Lan Lijun said Thursday.

"It is up to Indonesia to make a proposal. We have no problem because we feel that the Chinese military hardware, in terms of quality and price, is in a better competitive condition."

Talking to more than a hundred business persons, academics and journalists at the Aryaduta Hotel in Central Jakarta, Lan said that it was up to the two sides to discuss the kind of military cooperation, but a request by the Indonesian government would be very important.

"We have made a proposal to the Indonesian side. It is up to the Indonesian government to follow it up," he told reporters at the event.

Lan said in a prepared speech that since 2005, the two countries had established a strategic partnership, the first China has ever had with any single Southeast Asian country in the political, economics, cultural, educational, scientific, technological and military sectors.

He also emphasized the two countries should focus on several areas, such as enhancing high-level strategic dialogs as well as inter-departmental exchanges at all levels, accommodating each other's concerns, integrating the political and economic fronts of relations, and exchanges between parliaments, local governments and social establishments.

"China will continue to support the efforts of the Indonesian government in combating separatist forces and safeguarding national unification, and appreciates the Indonesian government for taking a One China policy as a political basis for developing bilateral relations," Lan said.

Since 2005, China and Indonesia have cooperated in strategic industries, such as the aircraft, steel and military hardware industries.

The secretary general of the Indonesian Defense Ministry, Lt. Gen. Sjafrie Sjamsoeddin, and the general chief of staff of the People's Liberation Army, Lt. Gen. Zhang Qinsheng, signed a memorandum of understanding on defense and security matters on April 3 in Beijing, China.

The agreement will be officially signed by both countries' defense ministers in September.

"We had agreed to bilaterally develop military technology and industry, and in turn we are not only aiming at the transfer of technology and technical assistance, but also at joint production of military equipment," said Sjafrie, as reported by Kompas daily newspaper on April 4. (02)

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