Amid China's growing aggression, Japan reaches deal with Indonesia on defence equipment
Tokyo : Amid China's rising aggression in the Indo-Pacific region, Japan and Indonesia have signed a deal enabling exports of Japanese-made defence equipment to the Southeast Asian country to boost cooperation between the two countries.
The agreement on the transfer of defence equipment and technology was signed on Tuesday, after the foreign and defence ministers of Japan and Indonesia met in Tokyo for so-called two-plus-two talks, the second of their kind between the two countries since 2015, The Japan Times reported.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said he hopes the pact will be the "foundation of further security cooperation between the two countries," when he met Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi and Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto.
"To realize the vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific, I'd like to advance specific cooperation," Suga added.
Noting the importance of the accord, Natalie Sambhi, executive director of Verve Research was quoted as saying by South China Morning Post that "Indonesia may not be able to confront China with numbers of ships from its coastguard or its navy, but I think having advanced equipment and exercise from countries like Japan could at least give it a sense of confidence when the moment comes."
Japan is troubled by Chinese coast guard ships' entry into Japanese territorial waters around the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea. Meanwhile, Indonesia faces tensions in its exclusive economic zone in the north of the Natuna Islands, where Chinese fishing boats, are reportedly engaged in illegal fishing.
China claims sovereignty over almost the entire South China Sea and has overlapping territorial claims with Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan.
China has been increasing its maritime activities in both the South China Sea and the East China Sea over the past few months, partly in response to Beijing's concerns over the increasing US military presence in the region because of escalating Sino-US tensions.
Beijing's rising assertiveness against counter claimants in the East and South Sea has resulted in unprecedented agreement across the Indo-Pacific. (ANI)