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Jakarta Post

Indonesia-US defense ties at a turning point

Singapore   /   Mon, April 9, 2018   /  01:38 pm
Indonesia-US defense ties at a turning point This handout picture from the Indonesian Military (TNI) in Jakarta on Jan. 24, 2018 shows Indonesian Military Chief Hadi Tjahjanto (right) posing with US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis (left) during his visit to the military headquarters. (Agence France -Presse/Handout)

The aim of United States Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis’ first official visit to Indonesia last January, the second by a top official from the President Donald Trump administration after Vice President Mike Pence, was to reinvigorate US-Indonesia defense relations. The Pentagon is committed to cultivating and enhancing bilateral defense cooperation in line with US national security interests. Central to this mission is countering China’s influence in the Indo-Pacific. Labeling China a “strategic competitor” means the US views China as a national security concern, with great power competition unavoidable between Washington and Beijing. This geopolitical rivalry is anticipated to play out vigorously in the Indo-Pacific, which includes Southeast Asia — Indonesia being at the heart of it as the largest country. Foreign policy matters such as the Sou...

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