Indonesia “understands” AUKUS pact | Islander
The Indonesian Defense Minister said his country understands the reasons for the security deal between Australia, the UK and the US, although he reiterated his concerns about an arms race in the region.
The AUKUS trilateral security pact, formed in part in response to China’s rise to power, has raised regional concerns as it allows Australia to acquire nuclear-powered submarines.
Asked about AUKUS in Bahrain, Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto said he understood why countries would act to protect their interests.
“Officially, our position is that of course Southeast Asia must remain nuclear weapon free, and the fear of course among Southeast Asian countries is that this will trigger an arms race.” , did he declare.
“But like I said, the focus of every country is to protect their national interest. If they feel threatened… they will do everything possible to protect themselves,” Prabowo said.
“And that’s what I mean, we understand that and we respect them.”
His comments appear to offer a more pragmatic view of the pact after Indonesia’s foreign ministry issued a statement in September saying it was “deeply concerned” about the alliance, warning it could spark a regional arms race.
The security pact comes amid mounting tensions in the South China Sea, as countries push back China’s maritime claims to the strategic and resource-rich waterway.
The United States on Friday called China’s use of water cannons against Philippine supply ships in the South China Sea “dangerous, provocative and unwarranted.”
In September, the Indonesian Navy stepped up patrols around its Natuna Islands after Chinese and US ships were detected in nearby waters, while a Chinese research vessel also recently participated in activities near a flat – oil form in the region.
China has not claimed the Natuna Islands, but says it has fishing rights nearby in a self-proclaimed nine-dash line that includes most of the South China Sea – a claim disputed by some South Asian countries -Is and not internationally recognized.
Australian Associated Press