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Jakarta dialogue aims at easing tension in Asia
Publication Date : 21-03-2013
The third Jakarta International Defense Dialogue (JIDD) started on Wednesday with the aim of reducing tension in the Asia and the Pacific region and bringing countries together. Indonesian Defense Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro said that the forum could help find solutions to resolve conflict and territorial disputes plaguing the region.
“The JIDD is aimed at facilitating the creation of a conducive environment for peace and stability that is supported by transparency, trust and cooperation,” he said in his speech for the forum at the Jakarta Convention Center (JCC) in Central Jakarta.
More than 1,300 participants, mostly military and government officials, from 38 countries joined the two-day event.
The annual event also has a defense exhibition and seminars with high-ranking military officials and defense experts giving talks on important subjects.
Tension in the Asia-Pacific region has been growing in recent years. China and its neighbours in Southeast Asia are still fighting over the South China Sea, while tension in the Korean peninsula lingers.
This security threat has prompted some countries to increase their military spending.
Purnomo said he was concerned that the increased military spending could adversely impact regional stability.
“If this [increased defense spending] is not accompanied by an enhanced transparency that improves trust and confidence, it could run the risk of becoming an arms race that adversely impacts on peace and stability,” he said.
In his remarks to open the forum, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono underlined the importance of strategic trust among countries in the Asia Pacific region.
“It [strategic trust] refers to an evolving sense of mutual confidence between nations - and particularly between government and militaries. Strategic trust is what we need to consistently evolve, spread and strengthen across the region,” Yudhoyono said.
Yudhoyono said that strategic trust is a key factor in the relationship between the US and China, India and Pakistan, China and Japan.
He said that democracy and economic cooperation in the region had created a conducive environment for the countries to settle their problems.
Yudhoyono then referred to the recent democratic transition of Myanmar and the “positive, cooperative relations” between the US and China, as contributing to the stability of the region.
Yudhoyono urged the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China to expedite the process in formulating a Regional Code of Conduct (CoC) as part of an effort to resolve disputes in the South China Sea.
“We hope that the CoC will be finalised sooner rather than later. It would go a long way to strengthen confidence building, which turns potential conflict into potential cooperation in the South China Sea,” he said.
Lt. Gen. Qi Jiangou of China’s People’s Liberation Army supported Yudhoyono’s statement, saying that China was expecting a win-win solution from the CoC.
“We facilitate the faster deliberation of the CoC. What we desire in the South China Sea is peace, harmony and cooperation,” Qi, the army’s deputy chief of general staff, said.