23 October 2011
In the process of gaining support in Asia, an engine of global growth where the US has major interests in trade and investment, the US has at times appeased Indonesia, and has expressed its full support for Indonesia’s handling of restive Papua.
“First and foremost, we support Indonesia’s efforts against separatism,” said US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Sunday (23/10).
Indonesian Defense Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro said he had told Panetta that Indonesia would not tolerate any act of separatism in Papua.
“I told him what happened in Papua before he asked me. We must explain what happened to erase any suspicion against us,” he said.
Meanwhile, in wooing other ASEAN countries, the US uses maritime security issues, such as China’s quarrel with some ASEAN countries over islands in the South China Sea, piracy and trade lanes in the Malacca Strait, as its entry points, stating that the US will protect ASEAN nations’ interests and warning China that the US remains a power in the region.
“The principle that I bring to Indonesia and this part of the world is that the US remains a Pacific power, that we will continue to strengthen our presence in this part of the world, we remain a force for peace and prosperity in this region, and we continue to push for free and open commerce, open access through the sea and the air. We’ll continue to seek a just international order,” Panetta.