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May 14, 2022 / 16:51

Indonesia defense minister visits Vietnam, highlighting navy cooperation

Vietnam and Indonesia share waters in the resource-rich and disputed South China Sea.

Indonesia Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto said in his ongoing visit to Hanoi on May 12-14 that Vietnam and Indonesia are determined to continue strengthening defense ties that have been well established so far in terms of cooperation between navies, coast guards, and military industry.

 Vietnam's Defense Minister Phan Van Giang (L) and Indonesia's Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto in Hanoi on May 13. Photos: VNA

Agreeing on the instructions of the two countries’ leaders, after this visit, Indonesia and Vietnam would jointly solve problems at sea, the issue which was discussed in the meeting between Prabowo and Vietnamese Defense Minister Phan Van Giang and in the courtesy call paid to President Nguyen Xuan Phuc on May 13.

The two sides briefed each other on the achievements in defense ties, especially from the end of 2019 until now, including dialogues and the signing of documents between the navies and coast guards, as well as training of armed forces.

In addition, Indonesia also wants to learn from Vietnam’s experience in the development of defense, fisheries, and agriculture. The Indonesian Ministry of Defense is willing to cooperate with its Vietnamese peer in training in the fields of technology and military medicine.

In talks between the two defense ministers, they suggested that the two countries’ maritime law enforcement agencies strengthen coordination in exchanging information and handling issues at sea on the basis of strategic partnership and the spirit of humane treatment of fishermen.

Vietnam and Indonesia stressed the necessity to maintain secure navigation and aviation in the South China Sea in compliance with international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 (UNCLOS), the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), and making efforts for the signing of the Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea (COC).

Prabowo said that the bilateral ministerial-level meeting is a very important forum, helping build communication in an effort to increase cooperation in the defense sector, at the same time exchanging views and experiences on regional and international issues.

“I see there is still a lot of room that can be explored, especially building mutual trust among ASEAN countries and increasing cooperation between the armed forces and the development of the defense industry of the two countries,” Indonesian media cited Prabowo.

Prabowo emphasized that Indonesia always attaches importance to relations with Vietnam. He expressed his admiration for the Vietnamese people for their efforts to win the two resistance wars for national independence.

Prabowo is optimistic about the friendly relations between Indonesia and Vietnam that are based on the spirit of brotherhood and the principle of mutual respect.

On this occasion, Vietnam’s Defense Minister Phan Van Giang cordially invites leaders of the Indonesian Ministry of Defense to attend and send defense enterprises to exhibit products at Vietnam’s first international defense exhibition to be held in December.

 Vietnam's President Nguyen Xuan Phuc (R) and Indonesia Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto in Hanoi on May 13. 

In the meeting with Prabowo, President Nguyen Xuan Phuc emphasized that Vietnam attaches great importance to the Strategic Partnership with Indonesia and always encourages the development of a stable and long-term relationship covering a wide range of economy, security and defense, culture, education, tourism, and people-to-people ties.

Phuc suggested that the two countries need to work more together to solve issues at sea, especially problems that arise.

Phuc said he appreciated Indonesia’s contribution to promoting ASEAN’s Centrality and solidarity, particularly Indonesia’s active role in encouraging the implementation of the Five-Point Consensus on Myanmar which was approved by the ASEAN Leaders in April 2021.

Vietnam pledges to support Indonesia in its ASEAN Chair in 2023 and hopes that Indonesia will actively contribute to building a solid ASEAN community, maintaining peace, stability and freedom of navigation in the region.

Indonesia and Vietnam are both ASEAN countries and share some waters in the South China Sea. The two countries are negotiating on some overlapping areas.