TOKYO • Japan and Indonesia have pledged to tighten security ties and signed a deal to facilitate transfers of defence equipment and technology between the two nations, as China expands its economic and military might.
China's territorial claims in the East and South China seas have become a priority issue in an increasingly testy Sino-US relationship, and also raise important security concerns for Japan.
"I think this is (a) historical first in bilateral relations between Japan and Indonesia," Indonesian Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto said, referring to the transfer pact.
"We invite the Japanese side to participate in the modernisation of Indonesia's defence capacity. We also encourage joint training between our services - maritime and also land forces," he told reporters.
Mr Prabowo made the comments at a joint media appearance in Tokyo following a two-plus-two meeting of the Japanese and Indonesian foreign and defence ministers.
"We exchanged views on the situation in the East and South China seas and shared serious concern about the continuation and strengthening of unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force," Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said.
The meeting followed a visit to the region by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who warned China over "coercion and aggression", and criticised what he called Chinese attempts to bully neighbours with competing interests.
Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi also criticised ongoing violence against civilians in Myanmar following its Feb 1 military coup. "Indonesia strongly denounces this kind of act. It is unacceptable," she said.
Ms Retno has worked to broker talks with the Myanmar military, which has killed more than 500 protesters since staging the coup.
Japan has extensive business interests in Myanmar and provides it with official development assistance.
Tokyo has condemned the killings, but has so far refrained from meting out sanctions against the military leadership.