Indonesian Defense Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro visited China in February, where he met with Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie to discuss boosting military ties. In an email interview, Kai He, an assistant professor of political science at Utah State University, discussed China-Indonesia relations.
WPR: What is the current extent of defense ties between China and Indonesia, and are there any noticeable trends or trajectories?
Kai He: The current military relationship between the two states has developed steadily. Since 2006, military officials from the two countries have held regular security consultation talks. In 2007, the two countries signed an agreement to enhance defense ties, including defense technology cooperation, exchange of military students and Chinese arms sales to Indonesia. In 2011, the two countries held their first joint military exercise in Indonesia, which aimed to enhance military cooperation in maritime security and anti-terrorism. It is reported that Indonesia is planning to purchase Chinese anti-ship missiles. The future of military and defense cooperation between the two countries looks promising, but it is not without limitations. Strategically, Indonesia will keep some distance from China to avoid suspicions from Indonesia’s neighbors and the United States.