Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto, right, has been entrusted with a $9 billion budget, the largest expenditure in the 2020 Indonesian state budget. (Antara Photo/M. Risyal Hidayat)

Prabowo Visits China to Consolidate Defense Cooperation

DECEMBER 17, 2019

Jakarta. Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto is concluding a three-day visit to Beijing during which he extended discussions with the Chinese government on increasing cooperation between the two countries in the defense sector. 

"Indonesia and China already have a good partnership in the defense sector, both bilaterally and regionally. China is now one of our partners in modernizing our defense system," Indonesian Ambassador to China Djauhari Oratmangun told Antara on Monday.

Prabowo arrived in Beijing on Sunday. The first items on his agenda were meetings with the Chinese National Defense Minister General Wei Fenghe and the deputy chairman of the Chinese Central Military Commission, General Xu Qiliang.

In his first official visit to China as a defense minister, Prabowo also visited the State Administration for Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense (SASTIND), an institution that oversees all strategic and defense industries in China.

Prabowo, who has been entrusted with a Rp 127 trillion ($9 billion) defense budget, the largest expenditure in the 2020 state budget, has been tasked by President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo to conclude defense contract negotiations with several countries.

Delays in signing the contracts under his predecessor Ryamizard Ryacudu had held back the Indonesian Military's (TNI) progress in modernizing its weaponry.

"Some of the items [in the contracts] were considered too expensive. They are now under review. The president has told me to renegotiate the contracts. The first priority is to protect our national interests," Prabowo told reporters after a meeting with the Coordinating Minister for Politics, Legal and Security Affairs, Mahfud M.D., last week.