Panetta Lauds Growing U.S.-Indonesia Partnership

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)