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Japan, Indonesia to boost naval security ties as China rises

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The leaders of Japan and Indonesia have agreed to bolster their ties in maritime security and their cooperation on climate change, energy and investment between the Asian archipelago nations.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, at a joint news conference after holding talks with Indonesian President Joko Widodo in Tokyo, said Japan will provide support to “further reinforce Indonesian maritime security capability to ensure peace and safety at sea in the Indo-Pacific region.”

Kishida also announced that Tokyo is loaning 43.6 billion yen ($318 million) to fund Indonesian infrastructure projects and disaster prevention.

Widodo’s Japan visit follows his trip to China, where he met with Chinese President Xi Jinping and formally invited him to the Group of 20 summit in Bali in the fall. The two leaders on Tuesday also discussed issues ranging from trade to maritime cooperation.

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While Indonesia and China enjoy generally positive ties, Jakarta has expressed concern about Chinese encroachment on its exclusive economic zone in the South China Sea, which China claims virtually in its entirety.

Widodo’ comments in Tokyo focused on investment, energy and the G-20 summit. Widodo welcomed new Japanese investments and asked for Japan’s support in new technology involving clean energy, infrastructure, medicine, agriculture and natural resources.

“In particular, I invite Japan to support the acceleration of Indonesia’s net zero emission target through advocating innovative technologies such as hydrogen and ammonia technology,” he said.

Japan is promoting mixing hydrogen and ammonia at coal-fired power plants as a way to lower emissions.

Also, Kishida said Japan is researching whether it can provide Japanese patrol vessels for Indonesia to build its maritime capabilities.

Japan’s Ground Self-Defense Force is participating for the first time in the Garuda Shield multilateral training exercise hosted by Indonesia next month, Kishida said. The U.S. is also joining the exercise.

While Japan promotes a “free and open” Indo-Pacific vision of security and trade with the United States and other democracies and friendly nations in the region that share concern about China’s increasing assertiveness, the two leaders did not mention the country by name.

Widodo said Indonesia, as the chair of the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations next year and Japan as the chair of the Group of 7 summit, will continue to cooperate for the peace and prosperity in the region and the world.

Source: AP