"Deployment of the TNI forces around the Natuna waters aims to anticipate possible infiltration as a result of instability in the South China Sea," Moeldoko added.
He noted that apart from the deployment of additional forces around the Natuna waters, the TNI will also increase the presence of its army and air force as the Natuna Island shares its borders with Vietnam in the north, and Malaysia and Brunei Darussalam in the east.
"Since Natuna is strategically located, the increase of its forces at sea, on the ground, and in the air is necessary to anticipate any instability in the South China Sea and serve as an early warning system for Indonesia and the TNI," Moeldoko explained.
According to him, the TNI is ready to cooperate with other countries, including China and the United States, in maintaining regional peace, security, and prosperity on a bilateral and multilateral basis.
He added that both China and the United States view Indonesia as the largest country in Southeast Asia, which has a great influence and role not only in Southeast Asia, but also in the Asia Pacific region.
He likened Indonesia to a "beautiful girl" whom many countries have frequently approached for its role and influence to resolve a wide range of issues in the Southeast Asian and Asia-Pacific regions.
When questioned about what Indonesia stands to benefit from its strategic partnership with China and the United States, he stated "Quite a lot."
"Anyway, China and the United States have done the requisite calculations. Hence, we must do the same, for instance, to develop and modernize the TNIs main armament systems and organize education and training courses to promote the professionalism of our troops," he emphasized.
He noted that Indonesia must uphold the principles of neutrality if it wants to be recognized by China, the United States, and other countries.
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