WASHINGTON, Oct. 24, 2011 — Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta praised Indonesia’s leadership in promoting regional security cooperation as part of the growing U.S.-Indonesia defense partnership.
In a commentary published today in Indonesia’s Jawa Pos newspaper, Panetta reported on progress following yesterday’s Association of Southeast Asian Nations annual meeting held in Bali, Indonesia, and his session with Purnomo Yusgiantoro, his Indonesian counterpart.
Following his visit to Indonesia, Panetta arrived in Japan today as part of a weeklong Asia trip that’ll include a later stop in South Korea.
Indonesia, the secretary wrote in his Jawa Pos article, “has emerged as one of the most important contributors to the peace and prosperity of Asia.” America, he added, “has watched with deep admiration over the past decade as Indonesia has emerged as a strong democracy and an important regional and global leader.”
Panetta cited Indonesia’s role in promoting multilateral security cooperation to tackle challenges ranging from terrorism and piracy to natural disasters and maritime security.
He underscored the U.S. commitment to closer, stronger engagement in the Asia-Pacific region to promote security and stability and to stand up to these and other threats.
“Nowhere is the deepening of our relations more exciting than in Southeast Asia,” he wrote. “I can assure you that I am personally committed to our relationships in this region and to building on the remarkable progress we have made over the past several years.”
The secretary highlighted strides already made by the United States and Indonesia, built on a foundation of shared values including a belief in tolerance, pluralism and religious freedom.
Panetta noted the comprehensive partnership formed last year between the two countries, and a new defense framework arrangement that builds on it. This arrangement, he observed, paves the way for stronger military-to-military ties and closer cooperation in areas including disaster relief and maritime security.
“Although we face a range of threats and security challenges, I am confident that the United States and Indonesia will succeed in overcoming them,” Panetta wrote. “As Indonesia and the United States confront the challenges of the 21st century together, I have no doubt that we will show the world that this spirit remains strong and vital.”
U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)