Posted by: Chuck | August 29, 2013

Indonesia central in US Rebalancing


, U.S. Senator from Nebraska.

, U.S. Senator from Nebraska. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The US commitment to sell eight advanced attack helicopters to Indonesia reflects the superpower’s acknowledgment of Southeast Asia’s biggest economy as its most important partner in its pivot to the Asia-Pacific region. The deal to sell Boeing AH-64E Apache helicopters worth US$500 million to the Indonesian Military (TNI), which includes pilot training, radars and maintenance, was disclosed after a bilateral meeting between Defense Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro and US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel at the Defense Ministry headquarters on Monday. In spite of the TNI’s human rights record in Papua and a recent raid on a civilian prison by members of the Army’s Special Forces (Kopassus) in Yogyakarta, Hagel said

Washington was determined to help Jakarta build its military capability.

“A strong Indonesia is good for the region,” Hagel said. “I welcome the progress Indonesia has made in improving transparency and the protection of human rights.”

Hagel had earlier been briefed by Army Chief of Staff Gen. Moeldoko on the Cebongan Penitentiary raid in Yogyakarta in March, Purnomo said. “Since I was able to get the current status [of the case] and was able to express the point of view of the US on this, and because it has been before the courts…  that’s all I can say about it for now,” Hagel aid when asked about the incident.

The US has been seeking to bolster ties with Southeast Asian nations as part of the US “pivot” toward the Asia-Pacific region amid concerns about China’s growing assertiveness. Hagel said that the US would stay on its course in Asia-Pacific despite crises in other parts of the world. Pacific, an area which is particularly important to the future of the US,” Hagel said. (Source: Asia Newsnetwork 8-27-13)

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