Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok and his Indonesian counterpart Retno Marsudi shake hands before a bilateral meeting at the offices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Central Jakarta on Tuesday (03/07). (Antara Photo/Aprillio Akbar)

Indonesia, Netherlands Expand Cooperation on Cybersecurity, Education, Maritime Cultural Heritage


JULY 04, 2018

Jakarta. Indonesia and the Netherlands concluded several agreements, including increased cooperation in cybersecurity, education and the preservation of maritime cultural heritage, during a meeting between their foreign ministers in Jakarta on Tuesday (03/07).

The two countries signed a letter of intent to improve bilateral cooperation on cybersecurity.

"We agreed to launch bilateral cyber-dialogue, to discuss ways of enhancing capabilities and share experience on cyber-legislation and protecting vital cyber-infrastructure," Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok told reporters.

Blok and his Indonesian counterpart, Retno Marsudi, also discussed ways to strengthen cooperation to combat drug trafficking and terrorism.

According to Blok, Indonesia and the Netherlands face similar challenges in the fight against terrorism, including the issue of returning fighters from Iraq and Syria and the threat of homegrown terrorism.

"I want to make it clear … that we stand shoulder to shoulder with you in the international fight against terrorism," Blok said.

He said people-to-people relations form a solid foundation for excellent relations and announced the extension until 2021 of StuNed – a scholarship program for Indonesian students deemed an integral part of Indonesian-Dutch relations.

More than 200 Indonesian students have received StuNed scholarships annually since the program's inception in 2000.

Blok also elaborated on a joint effort to protect maritime cultural heritage, combat illegal salvaging and help prevent the disappearance of Dutch shipwrecks in Indonesian waters.

In January, the Netherlands asked Indonesia to investigate reports of illegal salvation of the remains of Dutch sailors in World War II shipwrecks in the Java Sea.

"We agreed that our countries shall work together to protect and keep the shipwreck sites as places of commemoration," Blok said, adding that the first phase of the agreement will focus on three shipwrecks.

There are also plans to assemble a team of experts before the end of the year, tasked with drawing up a strategy for other Dutch shipwrecks in Indonesian waters.

The ministers also discussed human rights, including women's rights, religious freedom, freedom of the press and the situation in Papua.

"We share the same legal DNA," Blok said. "This is why we so actively exchange knowledge between our legal institutions."

The supreme courts of Indonesia and the Netherlands have a decades-long partnership, which involves various dialogues and exchange visits. The legal systems of the two countries share many similarities, mostly because Indonesia is a former Dutch colony.

This partnership was extended in January this year.