Indonesia-S Korea seek stronger cooperation in defense sector

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesia and South Korea are expecting a stronger cooperation in the defense sector following the visit by South Korean Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Lim Sung-nam.

Indonesian Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs A.M. Fachir and his South Korean counterpart co-chaired the First Meeting of High Working Level Strategic Dialogue (HWLSD) at the Pancasila Building of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Office in Jakarta on Monday.

"This was a mandate set after a meeting between Korean and Indonesian presidents last year, which tasked the two vice ministers of foreign affairs to hold a dialogue," Fachir said after the meeting.

Fachir added that there were two points of defense cooperation discussed in the meeting. The first was the submarine deal development.

Indonesia has received two submarines, which were built in the Korean shipyard, while the third one is expected to be built in the Indonesian shipyard of PT PAL Indonesia in Surabaya, under a transfer of technology scheme.

"If the procedures are accelerated, hopefully, they will soon be assembled in Surabaya," Fachir stated.

The second point discussed was the continuation of the joint program of KF-X/IF-X fighter aircraft.

The Korea Aerospace Industries KF-X/Indonesian Aerospace IF-X is a South Korean and Indonesian program to develop an advanced multirole fighter for the Republic of Korea Air Force and Indonesian Air Force.

The US has refused to grant export license for the key technologies that have been delaying the program.

"We agreed that together we should get the license from the US," Fachir stated.

South Korea has been Indonesias strategic partner in defense cooperation. The country had bought several CN235 airplanes from Indonesia.

The two countries wanted to have more cooperation and balance in the defense sector, Fachir asserted.

Representatives from the two countries also discussed several issues on bilateral cooperation, such as trade and investment, maritime affairs, social and cultural, consular and labor issues.

The first HWLSD aimed to boost strategic cooperation between the two counties through bilateral arrangement.

The first HWLSD was also attended by representatives of the Coordinating Minister of Economic Affairs, Coordinating Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Commerce, Investment Coordinating Board, and Ministry of Foreign Affairs

The second meeting of HWLSD will be held in Korea in 2019.(*)