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Japan PM talks security with Indonesia’s Prabowo

Ex-general Prabowo Subianto won presidential elections last month
Ex-general Prabowo Subianto won presidential elections last month - Copyright POOL/AFP Eugene Hoshiko
Ex-general Prabowo Subianto won presidential elections last month - Copyright POOL/AFP Eugene Hoshiko

Japan will deepen security ties with Indonesia, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told president-elect Prabowo Subianto on Wednesday on the ex-general’s second stop after Beijing as he visits Asian neighbours.

Prabowo, currently Jakarta’s defence minister, met Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday, his first visit to a key trade partner since he won the presidential election held in February.

At those talks, Beijing said it was “willing to deepen all-round strategic cooperation with Indonesia”.

Prabowo then travelled to Tokyo where he met Kishida.

During their meeting on Wednesday Kishida “stated that Japan attached great importance to cooperation with Indonesia in maintaining and strengthening the free and open international order based on the rule of law”, Japan’s foreign ministry said.

He added that “Japan would advance security cooperation with Indonesia besides the provision of a large patrol vessel for Indonesia decided in December 2023,” the ministry said.

The terms “free and open” and “rule of law” are often used by the United States and its allies including Japan to make a veiled reference to countering China’s increasing assertiveness in the Asia-Pacific region.

China is one of the biggest sources of foreign direct investment in Indonesia and has poured billions of dollars into projects in the archipelago nation.

Tokyo’s foreign ministry said that “president-elect Prabowo expressed his gratitude for Japan’s assistance to date and his hope to further enhance bilateral cooperation in a broad range of areas including security, agriculture and fisheries as well as disaster prevention”.

Prabowo is now on his way to Malaysia, according to the Indonesian defence ministry.

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