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Joint Press Conference with Secretary Hagel and Minister of Defense Purnomo in Jakarta, Indonesia

Press Conference

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Location: Jakarta, Indonesia

MINISTER OF DEFENSE PURNOMO YUSGIANTORO: (Speaking foreign language) We thank to the American government that we'll ask now to (inaudible) so Indonesia is thinking to build (inaudible) squadron in the future (inaudible) Defense Institution for Reform Institute -- for Reform Initiative -- I'm sorry. (Speaking foreign language)

That's what I'd like to share to you. And, excellency, the secretary of defense, now I'd like to ask you floor to share to the media.

SEC. HAGEL: Minister, thank you. And thank you all for coming out this afternoon.

I'm honored to be here in Jakarta today and be able to meet once again with the minister of defense, Mr. Purnomo. I know Minister Purnomo from previous visits, in particular a previous visit I made to Sumatra a few years ago when he was the minister of energy, and we met again at the Shangri-La Dialogue in June in Singapore. And I look forward to building onto our friendship on well into the future.

Earlier, I also had a productive meeting, as the minister noted, with President Yudhoyono. It's been impressive to watch a democratic Indonesia emerge as one of the most important contributors to peace and prosperity, not only here in Asia, but also globally.

Helping ensure the region's security and prosperity is a goal that the United States strongly supports. The strong and enduring security partnership that has been built between the United States and Indonesia is a relationship the United States greatly values. I know President Obama looks forward to his upcoming visit to Indonesia in October and to deepening the ties between our two countries.

Our progress on security includes increasingly complex combined exercises between our two militaries, a growing defense trade, and more high-level policy engagements. Next month, the United States and Indonesia will co-host the terrorism exercise under the framework of the ASEAN Defense Ministers' Meeting Plus. We recently launched a new initiative to share best practices in defense planning and management to increase Indonesia's military capability.

One of the fastest-growing areas of cooperation between the U.S. and Indonesia is defense trade, and I'm very pleased that the United States, for the first time, has agreed to sell Indonesia new AH-64-E Apache helicopters that the minister has noted, and as he noted, we will exchange those letters of agreement this afternoon.

Providing Indonesia these world-class helicopters is an example of our commitment to help build Indonesia's military capability. I'm also pleased to be able to announce that the U.S. and Indonesia have pledged mutual support and cooperation on the search and recovery of U.S. personnel missing from World War II. The United States' commitment to this effort is important to our personnel serving today in our armed forces, to make clear that we stand by our pledge to leave no one behind.

I also fully support Minister Purnomo's suggestion that we establish a military alumni association for Indonesians who have trained in the United States and participated in joint exercises and for all Americans who have attended training schools here in Indonesia. There are thousands of officers who qualify, and this is a great opportunity to continue these people-to-people ties that deeply bind our two nations and our two militaries.

I welcome the progress Indonesia has made in improving transparency and the protection of human rights. We must work to make even more progress on these critical issues which will lead to even more momentum in our defense relationship. Today, Minister Purnomo and I will affirm that our shared belief that a greater multilateral cooperation and strong regional institutions are essential, given the complexity of Asia's security challenges, and are clearly in each other's best interests.

The United States welcomes Indonesia's essential leadership in promoting regional security, cooperation through ASEAN, and regional forums, such as the East Asia Summit. The U.S. is committed to further strengthening the U.S.-Asian relationship, and I look forward to meeting with my counterparts this week at the ASEAN Defense Ministers' Meeting Plus in Brunei to address the many security challenges we face in the region, which the minister has noted.

Developing long-term and enduring solutions to these many challenges, maritime security, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, counterterrorism, and peacefully managing disputes in the South China Sea will all require greater cooperation and a respect for rules and norms among all parties, as well as the institutions that underpin them.

The U.S. has made clear that we welcome efforts to start talks on a code of conduct for the South China Sea. But we are encouraging claimants to solve these disputes diplomatically, without coercion, and consistently with international law, including the Law of the Sea. Avoiding any conflicts in this region is a vital interest of all nations, including the United States. We appreciate the important role Indonesia is playing in these efforts. A strong Indonesia is good for this region, and it's good for the world. And I look forward to deepening the important relationship between our two countries.

Thank you very much. Minister, thank you.

MIN. PURNOMO: Your excellency, due to the time constraints, so we will come four journalists' questions. And I will arrange the sequence of the questions. First going to be the local media, represented by the (inaudible). So please address the question, briefly.

Q: (Speaking foreign language) I address my question to both of you. The first question is, what is the military option to be taken by the U.S. on the latest development situation in -- in the conflict in Syria?

And what is -- to Minister Yusgiantoro, what is the standpoint of Indonesia on the event the U.S. actively involved in a conflict?

And the second question is on -- regarding the military training and cooperation between Indonesia and the U.S. As there are certain outfit successes, the (inaudible) violate human rights in the past and recently got ourselves allegedly involved in violation of human rights in attack and the killing of detainees in penitentiary in Jakarta.

And the third question is on the counterterrorism exercise. Where's the idea of CTX comes from? And why the host is U.S. and Indonesia? And in both of your opinion, how important for other country to join the CTX?

And also, the last question is, what's the main issue regionally and globally for both of your concerns? Thank you.

SEC. HAGEL: Thank you. Minister, let me see if I can -- I'm not sure I got your last two questions, but I got your first two.

On Syria, the United States is looking at all options regarding the situation in Syria. We're working with our allies and with the international community. We are analyzing the intelligence, and we will get the facts. And if there is any action taken, then it will be in concert with the international community and within the framework of -- of legal justification.

On your issue and question about the Kopassus issue, in the meeting I just had with the minister and many of his leaders in the defense department here, I was given a briefing, a status on where that issue resides. As you know, it's in the courts currently. We had a good exchange of thoughts on this. Human rights is a -- a vital, central, foundational issue of any democracy. It is the responsibility of our militaries in democracies to protect human rights. And we are democracies that adhere to the law of the land.

So since I was able to get a current status, and I was able to express the point of view of the United States on this, and because it's in the courts, that's all I would have to say about it now.

I didn't quite get your last two questions, and if you could repeat them briefly, I'll try to give you a quick answer. I --

Q: (off mic) on the counterterrorism exercise coming months, and why the idea comes from the U.S. and Indonesia, the hosts, I mean, the hosts of the exercise is the U.S. and Indonesia? And in your opinion, how important for other countries to join this counterterrorism exercise?

And the last one is, what's the main issue regionally and globally the two ministers both concerned?

SEC. HAGEL: Well, I'm sorry. I got the third one, but I didn't get the fourth one. But let me address the third one. We may at this for some time.

I think, as I've said, and I think the minister agrees -- and it's been the position of the United States -- that multilateral exercises are very important, because they are part of a process of allowing countries and militaries to better understand each other and the intentions of each other.

And through these multilateral exercises, when many countries participate, in the area of common interests based on common threats, that's good. That's good for all countries. That's good for the region, so we encourage that.

MIN. PURNOMO: Okay, I'll try to elaborate on those questions. The first one is regarding the Syria. (Speaking foreign language) When we met in presidential palace -- (speaking foreign language) -- it's regarding the Egypt, also Syria -- (speaking foreign language) -- I think it should be brought to the -- this issue to the Security Council of United Nations for this solution of the -- of the Syria. We all, I think, agree -- between us and U.S. -- that the use of the chemical weapons is not right, you know, in this case, so we are totally opposing the use of this chemical weapons by the governments. But the solution should be done through the Security Council of the United Nations.

(Speaking foreign language) for the (inaudible) case (speaking foreign language) -- we asked the chief of Army, General Moeldoko, to share, to present the status, the development of the Cebongan case to our -- our friend, U.S. delegations -- (speaking foreign language) -- psychological effect -- (speaking foreign language) -- so if it's necessary, then I will ask the General Moeldoko to also again explain to you, you know, the details on this Cebongan case.

On the CTX, CTX is one of the programs that we have under the umbrella of ADMM-Plus -- (speaking foreign language) -- ASEAN Defense Ministers' Meeting Plus, in which Indonesia and U.S. -- (speaking foreign language) -- have been the hosts, you know, the co-hosts of this event -- (speaking foreign language) -- between 9 to the 13th of September in (inaudible) in happens in Indonesia Peace and Security Centers. (Speaking foreign language)

(STAFF): (off mic) I will welcome the BBC Indonesia to address your question, please.

Q: These questions to Secretary Hagel, please. First, on the subject of Syria, can you elaborate what type of military action you are considering? Can you be more specific on that?

Second, with regards to the helicopters that you are selling to the Indonesians, what assurances have you been able to get from them that these helicopters won't be used in places like Papua on separatists and people who say they're victims of the systematic genocide?

And, finally, with regards to the pivot to this part of the world, will we see a reduction in troops, downsizing in troops in places like Japan and Korea?

SEC. HAGEL: Do you have a question for the minister?

MIN. PURNOMO: No, it's yours, sir. It's your time.

SEC. HAGEL: Do you want to take a couple? (Laughter.) How about Syria? You can -- (Laughter.)

Syria. I don't discuss military options. We advised the president of the United States on those options, the Defense Department has. The president is considering all different options, as he -- as he must for any contingency.

On the helicopters, we are signing today the letter of agreement to go forward and sell those helicopters. There will be a process that we'll obviously get into the details that you're talking about.

On the pivot, you probably know that, over the last couple of years, our Congress, the administration, has been working through the force posture of the United States, partly as a result of us coming out of one very long war, Iraq, and now winding down the longest war we've ever been in, Afghanistan. So that in itself is going to allow us to shift some focus of resources.

We are always looking at force structure shifts based on threats, based on issues, and the fact is, it's already been agreed to by the Congress, the president over the last two years, we are bringing down our overall force structure in the Army and the Marines. Then, how we rebalance the deployment of those, we're working those through, so that would be the answer I would -- I would give you. Thank you.

MIN. PURNOMO: Mr. Secretary, may I ask also, sharing the view to her regarding the human rights, you know. If you remember some times ago that eight of our soldiers were killed in Papua. And at the time, if you asked our military men they really like to go there, to go there and get revenge, but we didn't do that. And as a result of the cabinet meeting at the time, that we said that eight soldiers killed is still under the criminal law, so we will let the police, you know, do the investigation, we let the police, you know, do find the killers, you know. Otherwise, you know, I can send my troops there and then try to search for the killers, but we didn't do that. So that shows to us that we really respect to really the human rights, one.

The second, the situations. Indonesia is under (inaudible) case. So we will not send troop there. The only troop that we have in Papua is the troop that we have in the border, because the border under our policy is the troop that coming from the outside of Papua. It's not the soldiers that -- that are inside the Papua. But in Papua itself, you know, we didn't have the outside troops. You know, only in the border, because border is important for us.

Q: (off mic)

MIN. PURNOMO: Well, we're going to talk with -- with the secretary of defense in detail regarding the helicopters, you know. What we do today is we're signing a letter of offer and acceptance. And what I'd like to show you, how that Indonesian respect for the human rights, you know, under the reform of the armed forces that started in 1998, we are changed now. We have been changing now in our armed forces. You can look and see me, you know, civilian as a minister of defense. In the past, you know, minister of defense is the general of the armed forces or army. So Indonesia is now changing.

GEORGE LITTLE: Final questions will come from two reporters from the U.S. side. We'll start with Phil Stewart of Reuters.

Q: For Secretary Hagel, you said in your remarks yesterday in Malaysia, "The world has had enough war." You went on to say that wars can't resolve differences. How do we square this with intensifying U.S. consideration of military intervention in -- in Syria?

And a question for Defense Minister Purnomo. Why does Indonesia believe it actually needs these Apache helicopters now? And are there other weapons systems that Indonesia is looking to purchase from the United States? Thank you.

SEC. HAGEL: Well, first, we're not in a war in Syria, the United States, right now. So I don't respond to hypotheticals. My point in the speech yesterday was, if mankind has not learned that you don't resolve differences among people by other ways other than going to war, then we haven't learned very much. The track record over the last 50 years in the world, by resorting to war all over, hasn't -- hasn't fixed a lot of the differences or resolved a lot of differences. That was my point.

Obviously, when a nation is threatened, a nation has the option always, every nation, every -- every country, to protect itself, the right of self-defense. And there are humanitarian issues. There -- there are many dynamics in play always before you commit a nation to war.

I didn't say -- would never say, have never said that no nation should ever go to war. I wish the world was such that nations didn't go to war. But my reference was about resolving differences, resolving disputes.

MIN. PURNOMO: I'd like to refer to the modernization of our armed forces. As you probably knows, that for 20 years, Indonesia never been modernizing their armed forces. Why? Because the economic crisis happened in 1998, and Indonesia is focusing -- has been focusing on economic performance.

So since then, the Indonesia is -- now is trying -- Indonesia has tried to increase the welfare, the economic performance, until then recently, our economic performance is getting better. So now is the time for us to modernize our armed forces. You know, after 20 years, 15 years, we'd never done that, you know?

And I think it's -- we can see some other countries, when their economic performance is getting better, when they have the good economic growth, then some of the fund can be used to modernize their armed forces. And that's what happened in Indonesia, because if you look at, you know, how big is our country, and two-thirds of our country is water, and, you know, we have been really low in the level of the armed forces quality, and we try to modernize there, and -- but we are not able to do it, you know, rapidly, so we have to do it, you know, step-by-step.

And one of the steps that we have to -- to get it strong is in the army. And I think Apaches and also with thanks to the government of the United States, because of transferring the F-16 that was signed before the (inaudible), you know, sometimes ago, that will be used to modernize our armed forces, you know?

The important thing is the sovereignty of the countries. You know, we tried to protect our sovereignty, the unity of the countries, you know? We are not trying to expand our country, because our country is big enough. It is big, you know? And I think we needed the apparatus, we needed the equipment to protect our country. That's it. You know.

MR. LITTLE: And to conclude this afternoon's press briefing, we'll turn to Dan De Luce of Agence France-Presse.

Q: Mr. Secretary -- Mr. Secretary, first, you spoke yesterday about weighing the risks of action and -- or inaction when it comes to Syria. And given now that it seems almost certain that Syria was behind a major chemical weapons attack, what are the risks in your view of inaction, both for the United States and for the international community?

And to you, defense minister, given the rise in military spending across the region, are you concerned about an arms race? And also, do you feel that China -- China's investment in defense is driving that arms race? Thank you.

SEC. HAGEL: I would answer your question this way. Until we get all the facts and we're absolutely confident of what happened in Syria, I'm not going to comment on consequences of actions or inactions.

MIN. PURNOMO: Well, talking the arms race, you know, I do not believe that happened in the ASEAN countries. ASEAN is really united. And we do have a change in -- a change of idea in ASEAN defense ministers. And if you look at Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and some of the countries in ASEAN now, because the economic performance is getting better, and then some of the funds is used now to modernize their armed forces.

So what I'm trying to say, modernizing armed forces does not mean that there will be the -- the arm race, you know? In fact, that every year, ASEAN ministers of defense meeting twice a year. And one of them is meeting with ASEAN Plus, eight countries, discussing the cooperation togethers, not for the military operation for war, but for the military operations other than war…like what? Like a tsunami, this (inaudible) exercise, like counterterrorisms, and things like that are important.

So military does not mean that they have to be used for the war, but also at the site of the operation, we call it the military operation other than war, you know, such as natural disaster. You know, our country, you know, we have four natural disasters that needs, you know, to have the armed forces to be in front of them. One, you know, is volcano eruption, tsunamis, earthquake, flooding. And when that happens, I think they will need to have the armed forces for that, you know, in front of the -- of the -- or the field.

So, one, I do not believe that there will be the armed forces -- the arm race in the region, you know, since we are really solids in ASEAN. And ASEAN itself, it has a charter. And the ASEAN charter said, if you have any problem between ASEAN country, then you have to use what we call the ASEAN spirit. And what is the ASEAN spirit? The ASEAN spirit is sit down, talk, have a coffee, try to solve the problem. And we did that so far.

Look, you know, what happened between Cambodia and Thailand in the border issue. They can solve it. Some of the ASEAN countries have a problem in the border. They try to solve it by using the ASEAN spirit. So I think I believe that ASEAN is peace and secure, and I think with that (inaudible) we can push the economic activities more.

(STAFF): Thank you very much, your excellencies. We would like to ask the fellow journalists to witness the handover of the signed LOA from Purnomo to Secretary Hagel.


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