US seeks to boost defense ties with Indonesia

US seeks to boost defense ties with Indonesia

Visiting US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Indonesian counterpart Ryamizard Ryacudu discuss maritime affairs

​By Erric Permana and Chandni Vasandani

JAKARTA (AA) - U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Tuesday held a joint press conference with his Indonesian counterpart Ryamizard Ryacudu during his visit to the capital Jakarta.

The trip comes as the U.S. tries to boost defense ties between the two nations.

The two defense chiefs discussed a number of issues related to Indonesia including maritime affairs, bilateral cooperation, and the “Our Eyes” intelligence-sharing initiative.

Ryacudu also said he pressed Mattis for the lifting of sanctions from Indonesian special forces (Kopassus) who have been unable to attend training in the U.S. due to alleged rights violations.

In 2015, Indonesia and the U.S. issued a statement on comprehensive defense cooperation when Indonesian President Joko Widodo paid a visit to Washington.

Mattis is scheduled to meet with Widodo and Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Wiranto. Previously on Monday, he met with Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi to discuss Palestinian aid and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.

The Pentagon chief embarked on his one-week trip to Asia over the weekend, stopping in Indonesia and Vietnam to strengthen cooperation as China expands its military reach in the South China Sea.

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