Australian and Indonesian Ministers of Defense Meet After Restoration of Full Defense Cooperation


03/20/2017: Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Marise Payne, met with Indonesia’s Minister for Defence Ryamizard Ryacudu on March 17, 2017 in Sydney for the annual Indonesia-Australia Defence Ministers’ meeting.

Minister Payne said Australia and Indonesia have a long-standing and productive bilateral defence relationship that supports our mutual interests in security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.

The Ministers discussed regional security dynamics, and the importance of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) security frameworks to build regional trust, transparency and cooperation. The Ministers also reinforced their support for the recently signed Joint Declaration on Maritime Cooperation.

Minister Payne said Australia and Indonesia are cochairs of the next cycle of the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting-Plus (ADMM+) Experts’ Working Group on peacekeeping operations.

“This represents a great opportunity to strengthen regional peacekeeping efforts and build upon existing bilateral peacekeeping cooperation.”

During the bilateral meeting the Ministers discussed strengthening cooperation in defence science and technology.

“Science and technology cooperation has great potential to build the depth and resilience of our bilateral relationship and we agreed to greater cooperation and engagement,” Minister Payne said.

Defence looks forward to welcoming Indonesia’s head of Defence Ministry Research and Development Agency, Dr Anne Kusmayati, to Australia in 2017.

Minister Payne invited Minister Ryamizard to Darwin in the near future to view the United States Force Posture Initiatives.

“The Force Posture Initiatives provide new opportunities for regional defence engagement, including with Indonesia, in order to build mutual trust and contribute to regional peace and security.”

According to Paul Karp in an article published February 26, 2017 in The Guardian:

In January Indonesia suspended military cooperation with Australia for “technical reasons” believed to relate to offensive materials displayed at an Australian military base.

Indonesia later clarified the suspension only related to joint language training due to “a small incident that has offended our dignity as a nation”.

On Sunday Turnbull said he and Widodo agreed to “the full restoration of defence cooperation, training exchanges, and activities”.

Turnbull said Australia and Indonesia were committed to countering the threat of foreign fighters returning from Syria and Iraq, including with a $40m commitment from Australia for the second phase of the countries’ joint justice program.

Turnbull said both countries encouraged parties in the South China Sea dispute to resolve it in line with international law, presenting a joint face against China’s island-building program, which the International Court of Justice said could not ground territorial claims.