Indonesia warns against Cold War-style containment

AP News
Posted: Mar 14, 2012 5:54 AM
Indonesia warns against Cold War-style containment

Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa warned against any Cold War-style attempt to contain China after arriving in Australia on Wednesday for foreign policy and security talks.

While not specifically naming China, Natalegawa told a university forum in Canberra that "the management or the containment of a rising country, we believe, would see the return of old-style Cold War power politics."

"The Asia-Pacific environment would benefit from avoidance of Cold War-type competition and conflict," Natalegawa told Canberra's Australian National University, where he was a doctoral student.

Natalegawa is to take part on Thursday in the first joint meeting of Indonesian and Australian foreign and defense ministers.

President Barack Obama announced plans in November to send U.S. military aircraft and up to 2,500 Marines to Australia's north for a training hub to help allies and protect American interests across Asia. The closer military ties between Australia and its most important defense ally, the United States, are seen as a reaction to China's increasing military assertiveness in Asia.

Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr, who was sworn in as a senator and Cabinet minister on Tuesday, said he looked forward to wide-ranging discussions with Natalegawa and Indonesian Defense Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro.

"This dialogue with our Indonesian friends and neighbors serves as an essential forum for identifying areas of future bilateral cooperation," Carr said in a statement.

Defense Minister Stephen Smith said Australia and Indonesia are working to expand defense and security cooperation and bolster coordination on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, international peacekeeping, anti-piracy efforts and maritime security.

Natalegawa said relations between the two countries "have never been as close as they are today."