Indonesia’s Widodo to visit Japan, security pact on agenda

BN-HM468_0319in_P_20150319000442Against the backdrop of an increasingly assertive China, Japan and Indonesia have agreed to sign a defence pact ahead of President Joko Widodo’s visit to visit Tokyo next.

The pact is expected to be signed after Mr Widodo’s talks with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and will seek to expand cooperation in areas of enhancing military training and technology.

Although it will be a non-binding agreement, it is viewed as the first step in bolstering defence ties between the two countries. A Japanese foreign ministry official said that Mr Widodo’s trip sends a “big massage” as this will be his first visit outside South East Asia.

The Indonesian government said that the defence pact was “very significant” for both nations.

Japan has already expanded military ties with Vietnam and the Philippines, the two countries in the region which are at odds with China over a territorial dispute in the South China Sea.  Even though Japan doesn’t make any territorial claim in the South China Sea, it worries about being isolated if China dominates the disputed sea body.

Japan has a long-running dispute with China over sovereignty claims on a string of islands in the East China Sea.

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