Jakarta. Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu said Indonesia and Vietnam must step up bilateral cooperation in defense and security to address threats in the region, such as terrorism, separatism and cyberwars.
"It's in the best interest of Indonesia and Vietnam to increase efforts to ensure regional peace and prosperity," Ryamizard said during a meeting with his Vietnamese counterpart, Gen. Ngo Xuan Lich, in Jakarta on Friday (13/10).
He added that the Indonesian and Vietnamese defense ministries should increase "coordination, cooperation and flexibility to address and tackle regional and global challenges together," emphasizing that no country can singularly address present-day issues facing the world.
Ryamizard said the international community faces the threat of open war between countries, although he added that this remains unlikely. The actual threats, he said, are terrorism and radicalism, separatism and secessionism, natural disasters, theft of natural resources, border violations and cyberwars.
During their meeting, Ryamizard and Ngo signed a joint vision statement that will serve as guideline across all areas in defense cooperation between Indonesia and Vietnam.
"Among those is continuing to promote areas of cooperation that have been mapped out in the memorandum of understanding Indonesia and Vietnam signed in 2010. [...] Defense industrial cooperation is one of the areas we have agreed upon and signed in the joint vision statement today," Ngo told reporters.
Indonesia and Vietnam will hold a defense policy dialog in 2018 and continue their joint working group on armed forces.
They also agreed to continue exchange programs between high-level delegations and junior officers, while stepping up cooperation between their navies and coastguards, among others.
"We strongly believe the defense cooperation between our two countries will be one of the pillars of the strategic partnership," Ngo said.
Addressing the matter of overlapping claims in their respective exclusive economic zones near the Natuna Sea, which resulted in clashes between the Indonesian and Vietnamese coastguards earlier this year, Ryamizard said affiliated bodies from the two countries will meet to reach an agreement and resolve the issue by the end of this year.
Indonesia and Vietnam established diplomatic relations in 1955, while both countries are members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).
Nguyễn Phú Trong, secretary general of the Communist Party of Vietnam – the highest political authority in the country – met with President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo during a visit to Jakarta in August. The two leaders agreed to deepen their strategic partnership.