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. China, Indonesia look for ways to boost military ties
JAKARTA (AFP) Nov 05, 2004
Indonesia and China on Friday discussed defence cooperation, exploring ways for Jakarta to obtain new arms supplies as the Southeast Asian country struggles to rebuild military ties with Washington.

Visiting Chinese State Councillor Tang Jiaxuan said he had met with new Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, discussing broad bilateral issues including defence cooperation.

"We held talks on defence cooperation and we have agreed to increase cooperation and consultation on security," he told reporters.

The United States halted most military-to-military contacts with Indonesia after Jakarta's troops ran riot in East Timor during a 1999 independence vote. US legislators say abuses must be accounted for before ties can resume.

US officials have repeatedly expressed disappointment at the outcome of Indonesian tribunals to try military, police and civilian officials accused of atrocities linked to East Timor's violent separation from Indonesia.

Separately, Foreign Minister Wirayuda said Jakarta hoped from the talks China could "provide ways to help (us) rejuvenate our weaponry."

Tang, who is due to hold separate talks later with Vice President Yusuf Kalla, top security minister Widodo Adisucipto and foreign minister Hassan Wirayuda, said he was "satisfied" with his meeting with Yudhoyono.

President Hu Jintao's also extended an invitation for Yudhoyono to visit China, Tang said, adding that the two leaders could possibly hold separate bilateral talks at the November 22 to December 1 ASEAN summit in Laos.

Indonesia's relations with Beijing were put on ice after Jakarta accused the Chinese Communist Party of backing an abortive coup blamed on the Indonesian Communist Party in 1965.

In a sign of dramatically improved relations, former president Suharto, who rose to power after the coup attempt and outlawed communism in Indonesia, visited Beijing in 1991. Suharto stood down in 1998.

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