The participation case highlighted the burgeoning security aspect of the relationship between Jakarta and Seoul.
Last week, Indonesian Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto made a visit to South Korea, which included his attendance at the launch of the country’s native fighters (KF-X). While there are some details revealed about the visit, it still places attention on the growing security aspect of the relationship between Jakarta and Seoul.
As I observed before, Indonesia and South Korea have pursued defense cooperation as part of their broader diplomatic relationship, dating back to 1971. The two countries signed a defense agreement in year. 2013 and cooperation on projects has continued to proceed at varying degrees, from submarines to the development of the new KF-X / IF-X fighter jet, is facing some complications.
The two sides have sought to further promote security cooperation between them in recent years despite the challenges in them. In addition to steps like ratify their defense agreementBoth sides also discussed potential new efforts, including additional advisory mechanisms and cooperation in areas such as cybersecurity. This happened when the Korean government under President Moon Jae-in pursued the New Southern Policy aimed at promoting relations with Southeast Asian countries.
Last week, the defense relationship made headlines again with Prabowo’s visit to South Korea, which began on April 7, after that. previous speculation about the nature and program of the trip. The minister, who is believed to be accompanied by about 20 officials, spent three days in the country, during which he met a number of South Korean officials. According to the Indonesian Ministry of Defense press release, Mr. Prabowo paid a courtesy visit to President Moon Jae-in and Prime Minister Chung Sye-Kyun, expressing his appreciation for a special strategic partnership between Indonesia. and Korea. He also held a bilateral defense meeting with Defense Minister Suh Wook, where the two discussed views on a number of strategic security issues, including aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the for future defense cooperation opportunities, which have not been identified.
The highlight of Prabowo’s trip was his presence at the presentation of the KF-X native fighter jet as a representative of the Indonesian government. The rollout is carried out by Moon, along with Suh Wook as well as Kang Eun-Ho, the newly appointed minister of the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA). The presentation also saw Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo give a virtual speech congratulating Korea on the launch of the KF-X fighter prototype, in which Jokowi called it a “landmark moment. “Towards South Korea and note the close relationship with the defense relationship between Korea and Indonesia.
Prabowo and Jokowi’s participation in KF-X implementation was seen as a symbolic signal of Jakarta’s recognition of the KF-X / IF-X’s role in the broader defense relationship, and above. in fact, Jokowi mentioned the project by name and mentioned that it is a work in progress to meet the needs of both countries for decades to come. At the same time, however, unsurprisingly, and contrary to some earlier speculations, Prabowo’s visit was not accompanied by any publicly available clarity or specificity about Indonesia’s approach to KF-X / IF-X fighter program.
The widely publicized clarity and specificity should not be underestimated, as the underlying issues that cause delays with the KF-X / IF-X fighter program lie in more substantive questions. are symbolic commitments. Overall, the defense dialogues on both sides acknowledged that cooperation is harder to come into practice, despite the best efforts of both countries. However, Prabowo’s trip and his participation together with Jokowi’s virtual presence at the KF-X deployment event reaffirmed Jakarta’s commitment to at least continue investing in facet development. Relatively ineffective defense edge in Indonesia’s key relationship in the Indo-Pacific region.