Asia needs new military balance, not led by one major power: Indonesia's top general

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 20, 2015 3:27 AM

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Asia needs a new military balance that is not led by one major power, Indonesia's top general told Reuters on Monday, as the region becomes increasingly concerned over China's rapid expansion in the South China Sea.

"There are significant changes in the stable and calm conditions that existed in the region a decade ago," military commander Moeldoko said at Indonesia's military headquarters.

"So everyone has an opinion that China is a threat to the neighborhood. The region needs a new balance."

As a result of heightening tensions in the region, Indonesia plans to upgrade its military forces in Natuna and Tanjung Datu, areas of the South China Sea near China's claims.

Moeldoko, who retires as military commander in July, wants to bring together the United States, Japan, China and Southeast Asian nations at a regional defense summit next year in the hopes of easing tensions.

China claims most of the potentially energy-rich South China Sea, disputed in parts with the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan, and denies accusations its actions in its own territory are provocative.

(Reporting by Kanupriya Kapoor and Randy Fabi; Editing by Nick Macfie)