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Abe, Jokowi agree to stronger security, economic ties

by

Staff Writer

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and visiting Indonesian President Joko Widodo pledged Monday to strengthen relations between their two nations, committing to maritime stability and promoting investment in infrastructure development for the Southeast Asian nation.

“As maritime and democratic countries representing Asia, we agreed to further enhance our strategic partnership,” Abe said after the summit with the Indonesian leader popularly known as Jokowi, who chose Japan as his first foreign destination for a bilateral meeting outside the Association of Southeast Asian Nations since taking office in October.

At a joint news conference after their meeting, Abe said he and Jokowi agreed to launch a forum to achieve an “open and stable” maritime environment through high-level talks between the two countries.

Referring to the launch of the forum, the 53-year-old Jokowi said Jakarta and Tokyo will promote cooperation in strengthening coastal patrols and developing maritime infrastructure and industries, among other things.

The two leaders agreed to hold “two-plus-two” talks between their foreign affairs and defense chiefs to promote security cooperation.

Before the news conference, the Japanese and Indonesian defense ministers inked a memorandum on further bilateral defense cooperation.

On the economic front, Abe and Jokowi agreed to launch an initiative called “Promosi,” which means “promotion” in Indonesian, to expand Japanese investment in the country.

“Indonesia is a major power with abundant potential,” Jokowi said at the news conference.

A former businessman and governor of Jakarta, Jokowi said he welcomes more Japanese firms and their investment, especially in the fields of power generation, port construction, road improvement, expressway construction and building industrial complexes in special economic zones.

During their summit, Abe told Jokowi that Japan will provide about ¥140 billion in loans for railway projects, including a rapid transit system under construction in Jakarta, according to a senior Japanese official.

The two leaders also stressed the importance of addressing terrorism and extremism, the official said.

Jokowi invited Abe to attend the Asian-African Conference to be held next month in Jakarta and Bandung. The meeting is marking its 60th anniversary. Abe said he would like to attend if his schedule will permit it, according to the official.