Germany, Indonesia agree to strengthen defense ties

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Germany and Indonesia agreed on Monday to strengthen their defense cooperation and plan a joint military exercise with other countries in the region.

German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius discussed the growing ties in a meeting with his Indonesian counterpart, Prabowo Subianto, in Jakarta.

“We talked about the possibility of having a deal about some submarines. We were talking about the two minesweepers which are already on the way to Indonesia,” Pistorius said.

Germany and Indonesia are also planning a joint military exercise with other regional partners, but no details have been disclosed.

Both ministers attended the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, Asia’s annual defense and security forum, where U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Saturday criticized China's "bullying or coercion” in the Indo-Pacific region, including tensions over Taiwan and the South China Sea.

Pistorius on Sunday said Germany is committed to contributing to peace and security in the region.

“And we are ready to strengthen our engagement in the years to come,” Pistorius said.

Subianto said at the forum on Saturday that the security situation in the Indo-Pacific, especially in East Asia, is dominated by tensions resulting from the rise of China as a major power in a world which has long been led by the United States.

“History teaches us when a rising great power meets a preeminent global power, tensions do arise and the historical record shows many of these conflicts result in open conflict, kinetic conflict. However, this rivalry, some have suggested, has turned into a new Cold War. It is being called the Second Cold War,” Subianto said.

Chinese Defense Minister Gen. Li Shangfu said at the conference that the U.S. has been “deceiving and exploiting” Asia-Pacific nations to advance its own self interests to preserve “its dominant position.”