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Indonesia's Prabowo to boost ties with Japan

TOKYO: Indonesian President-elect Prabowo Subianto said he wants to «further strengthen» relations with Japan as he met with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Wednesday after visiting China.

Prabowo, who's currently defense minister, told Kishida that the two countries are longtime friends that have built a cooperative relationship, and he hoped to bolster the relationship.

Japan has been seeking closer ties with Southeast Asian countries, especially in maritime security and defense, in the face of China's increasingly assertive military presence.

Prabowo, who will succeed Joko Widodo in October, chose Beijing for his first official overseas trip in a bid to emphasize steady ties with China amid rising tensions in the South China Sea.

In his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Prabowo pledged a continued friendly policy toward China.

China is Indonesia's largest trading partner, with Beijing investing in major infrastructure projects.

Meanwhile, Indonesia has maintained a relatively neutral stance amid rising tensions between China and the Philippines over rival territorial claims in the South China Sea.


Kishida welcomed Prabowo's early visit to Tokyo, telling his future counterpart that the two countries are longtime friends that share basic values and principles, and that Japan hoped to further strengthen cooperation in regional and global issues as «comprehensive and strategic partners.»

He said Japan hopes to contribute to Indonesia's development in areas including infrastructure and energy, while stepping up cooperation in security and defense.

Kishida's meeting with Prabowo came just a week before the Japanese leader will travel to Washington for a summit with US President Joe Biden, and three-way talks that will also include Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., where the leaders are expected to discuss reinforcing security ties.

Later Wednesday, Prabowo held talks with Japanese Defense Minister Minoru Kihara.


The two ministers vowed to enhance defense cooperation, the Japanese Defense Ministry said in a statement.

Japan and Indonesia are expanding joint exercises in the Indo-Pacific region, as well as capacity