Prabowo of Indonesia Vows Cooperation with Japan, Eyes China Ties


Indonesian Defense Minister and President-elect Prabowo Subianto engaged in discussions with Japanese Defense Minister Minoru Kihara (not shown) as they commenced their talks at the Defense Ministry in Tokyo. Just two days after expressing his desire for close ties with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Subianto conveyed to Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida his aspirations for enhanced security and economic collaboration.

"We have built a cooperative relationship and going forward I would like to strengthen that", Prabowo told Kishida at a meeting in Tokyo. Prabowo, who had previously affirmed Indonesia's commitment to a policy of non-alignment, made a visit to Japan after his trip to China. This marked his first foreign visit since winning the presidential election in February, leading the world's fourth most populous nation.

Both Tokyo and Beijing are seeking to build relationships with the Southeast Asian countries bordering the disputed South China Sea, which China claims the majority of, aiming to bolster their influence in this strategically significant region. The incumbent defense minister, a former special forces commander, is scheduled to be inaugurated by President Joko Widodo in October.

His election has sparked concerns among human rights organizations, which highlight alleged abuses attributed to him during his military tenure. Prabowo, who was determined by a military council to have been involved in the abduction of student activists in 1998, refutes these allegations. Additionally, Prabowo held discussions with Japan’s Minister of Defense Minoru Kihara in Tokyo.

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