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Cablegate: Admiral Keating Engages Indonesian Experts On

VZCZCXRO8361
OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHJA #0759/01 1070147
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 160147Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY JAKARTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8706
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS PRIORITY
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 4942
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA PRIORITY 2339
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 1826
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUENAAA/SECNAV WASHDC PRIORITY
RHHJJPI/USPACOM HONOLULU HI PRIORITY
RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON 2548
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 2603
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 JAKARTA 000759

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EAP, EAP/MTS, EAP/MLS, EAP/CM, EAP/P; PM
NSC FOR E.PHU

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV ID CH
SUBJECT: ADMIRAL KEATING ENGAGES INDONESIAN EXPERTS ON
SECURITY ISSUES


1. (U) This message is Sensitive But Unclassified--Please
handle accordingly.

2. (SBU) SUMMARY: USPACOM Commander Admiral Keating engaged
leading Indonesian national security experts during an April
11 roundtable at the Center for Strategic and International
Studies (CSIS), Jakarta's leading think tank. Indonesian
participants agreed on the importance of USG engagement in
Asia, especially given uncertainty about China's intentions.
They also supported robust USG-GOI mil-mil ties. ADM Keating
also discussed regional security with other security experts
and Indonesian legislators in a separate meeting. END SUMMARY

A REGION AT PEACE

3. (SBU) In his opening remarks at CSIS, Admiral Keating
described U.S Pacific Command's Area of Responsibility as a
region at peace, thanks in part to U.S. engagement. He noted
that U.S. relationships in the region ranged from formal
allies like Japan, the Philippines and Australia to less
formal partnerships with countries like Indonesia, Singapore
and Malaysia. He noted that India--a stalwart of the
Non-Aligned Movement traditionally reluctant to engage the
United States on security issues--had shown greater interest
in security cooperation with the United States. ADM Keating
also said that, due to the steady progress of the Six Party
Talks on the DPRK's nuclear program, he was "cautiously
optimistic" regarding the situation on the Korean Peninsula.
(Note: Septel contains a report regarding Admiral Keating's
meetings with GOI officials.)

4. (SBU) In the subsequent discussion, CSIS Deputy Executive
Director Rizal Sukma questioned whether the USG was
preoccupied with the Middle East at the expense of other
regions. ADM Keating affirmed U.S. commitment to the
Asia-Pacific region. Despite priorities in other parts of
the world, the United States regarded Asia as essential. He
noted particularly the importance of Southeast Asian
waterways--especially the Strait of Malacca--to economic
stability around the world. ADM Keating assured his
Indonesian interlocutors that the United States would remain
engaged in Asia.

QUESTIONS ABOUT CHINA

5. (SBU) Questions remained, however, about China. ADM
Keating underscored that the lack of transparency regarding
China's military acquisitions and doctrine left the rest of
the world unsure of Chinese intentions. The United States
had no reason to suspect expansionist or destabilizing
intentions from China. That said, China's lack of
transparency forced the U.S. military to monitor the
situation carefully. ADM Keating also stressed, however,
that the United States continued to engage China, including
in the area of mil-mil ties, to encourage greater openness.
One demonstration of this engagement was the recent
installation of a hotline between U.S. and Chinese defense
ministries--something that could help prevent
misunderstandings.

6. (SBU) Indonesian experts agreed that China's behavior
raised questions about its intentions. CSIS Executive
Director Hadi Soesastro said this was the reason Indonesia
and its ASEAN peers sought to bring China into regional
institutions like the ASEAN Regional Forum and the East Asia
Summit. Building on this point, Rizal Sukma said that
Indonesia continued to support a vigorous U.S. presence in
the region. "Only the United States can balance China,"
Sukma asserted.

MIL-MIL TIES, DEMOCRATIZATION AND REFORM

7. (SBU) ADM Keating stressed that United States engagement
with Indonesia, including with the TNI, was critical to
supporting democracy and reform. Indonesia was a critical
partner on important issues like counterterrorism and
maritime security. Indonesia had made significant progress

JAKARTA 00000759 002 OF 002


in its ongoing reform process, including building a military
that was under civilian control and respected human rights.
The United States had responded to this progress by expanding
engagement with the TNI and was committed to continuing that
expansion, the Admiral said.

8. (SBU) In response to ADM Keating's question, Indonesian
interlocutors outlined their desired next steps in
Indonesia's military reform. One participant said Indonesia
needed eventually to give up the territorial command system.
(Note: Under this system, military personnel are scattered
throughout the country, assigned to jurisdictions down to the
village level. Critics charge that this gives the military
too much influence over local administration.) CSIS
interlocutors also agreed that, as an archipelagic nation,
Indonesia should develop a much stronger navy, a point the
Admiral endorsed. Ambassador Wiryono Sastrohandoyo said U.S.
military engagement with the TNI could help strengthen
Indonesia's democracy and urged that the USG stay focused on
that element of mil-mil cooperation. ADM Keating assured the
audience that this was central to the United States' security
relationship with Indonesia.

DINNER WITH SECURITY EXPERTS

9. (SBU) In a separate conversation with security experts
and members of the Indonesian legislature (DPR) on April 9 at
the Ambassador's residence, Dr. Dewi Anwar Fortuna of the
Indonesian Institute of Sciences and the Habibie Center said
China's growing power should be a matter of major concern to
the region. Indonesia did not yet appreciate the seriousness
of this development for the future. Indonesia was unprepared
and unable to resist growing Chinese influence in the region.
China historically had taken the position of a superior in
all its relations with other countries in the region; it had
never acted as an equal in partnership; there was no reason
to expect this to change in the future. Fortuna asked
rhetorically what means ASEAN had to offset or otherwise
temper China's rise.

10. (SBU) DPR legislator Marzuki Darusman said there was
growing support in the legislature for developing an
Indonesian Coast Guard. He said the DPR and the government
were reviewing various options and were studying how other
countries, including the United States, structured their
forces. So far, however, the Indonesian government remained
undecided about how to proceed. He noted that the Indonesian
Navy and Marine Police each performed roles that could belong
to a Coast Guard, although he admitted that each was
underfunded and that there was no funding plan for any new
Coast Guard.

11. (U) Admiral Keating has approved this message.

HUME

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