Jokowi discusses security issues with US Defense Secretary Mattis
Marguerite Afra Sapiie
The Jakarta Post
President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo held a closed-door meeting with US Secretary of Defense James Mattis at Merdeka Palace on Tuesday.
Mattis arrived at the office shortly before 1 p.m. after the secretary met with his Indonesian counterpart, Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu, for bilateral talks on security issues.
Speaking after the one-hour meeting with Jokowi, Mattis said he and the President discussed the US-Indonesia partnership and their common ground as democratic countries that respected one another.
"I am here to listen to your leaders and understand what it is we can do to assist you, one democracy to another, you who are so important here in the Indo-Pacific region," Mattis told journalists after the meeting.
When asked whether there were specific issues that he discussed with Jokowi, such as North Korea, Mattis said Indonesia and the US shared a lot of common ground toward the rogue state.
"The international community, [and] the United Nations are just working on it and we are all trying to do our part with the UN to make sure that this is solved peacefully," Mattis added.
After concluding the meeting with Jokowi, Mattis departed to meet Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Wiranto.
Mattis and Wiranto discussed several security issues that caught the US' attention in the region, including the South China Sea and the Sulu waters in southern Philippines, where a string of kidnappings of Indonesian fishermen by Abu Sayyaf militants have occurred in recent years, Wiranto said.
"[Mattis] also asked about our opinion on the issues surrounding the condition in Myanmar, because it is a serious problem that should be addressed," Wiranto said after the meeting. (dmr)
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