Tuesday, 24th October 2017

Yudhoyono denies trilateral military cooperation

4th July 2012 | 1.959 Views
Yudhoyono denies trilateral military cooperation
President of Indonesia Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (REUTERS/Daniel Hartley-Allen)
Darwin (ANTARA News) - There is little possibility of a trilateral military pact among Indonesia, Australia, and the United States, according to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

"Indonesia`s stance has been clear, firm and consistent: it would not let the region become a conflict arena," he said here on Wednesday.

The tension between China and the US has been strongly felt in the region, especially after the US marine forces were stationed in Darwin.

Yudhoyono said Indonesia did not join Australia and the US in a planned military exercise, the focus of which was natural disaster relief operations, in order to avoid wrong perceptions and tension in the region.

"When I heard about the proposal, I said firmly and clearly to all that it could give a wrong impression," he added.

President Yudhoyono expressed regret that often military cooperation between two countries was misconstrued as a defence pact.

He explained that the military cooperation between Australia and Indonesia was a joint initiative, which was later presented as a paper on East Asia regional cooperation at the East Asia Summit in Bali last year.

The cooperation mainly focuses on dealing with natural disasters, especially on disaster relief efforts.

"We must always cooperate in view of the high possibility of disasters in the region," President Yudhoyono said.

The cooperation is based on three pillars: information sharing, eradicating bottlenecks when aid is supplied to the site of disasters, and interavailability, he added.

President Yudhoyono said Indonesia, ever since the East Asia Summit and the first Indonesia-Australia annual leaders` meeting in Bali in November 2011, had always called for international cooperation in disaster management.

The head of state added that he reiterated the need for such cooperation when he met Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard at the second annual leaders` meeting in Darwin on July 3.

By involving as many parties as possible, such as the ASEAN countries, Japan, India, South Korea, the US and China, trust would be built in the region, President Yudhoyono said.

"That is what I have proposed and hope for. Clearly, there is no such trilateral defence agreement between Indonesia, Australia and the US, but Indonesia agreed that cooperation in disaster relief operations must involve all parties," he added.

President Yudhoyono explained that military cooperation in natural disasters were humanitarian operations and not politics.