S. Korea, Indonesia to deepen defense industry cooperation

  • Published : Nov 17, 2011 - 20:53
  • Updated : Nov 17, 2011 - 21:48

BALI, Indonesia -- South Korea and Indonesia agreed Thursday to strengthen defense industry cooperation and work closely together to carry out Indonesia's major economic development blueprint, South Korea's presidential office said.

   President Lee Myung-bak met with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono after arriving on the resort island of Bali for a series of annual regional summits aimed at boosting economic and other cooperation between Southeast Asian nations.

President Lee Myung-bak meets Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in Bali, Indonesia, Thursday. (Yonhap)

   Talks between the presidents focused on boosting economic cooperation between their two countries.

   Indonesia is a key economic partner for South Korea, especially in the defense industry. In May, the country signed a contract to buy South Korean T-50 trainer jets, also known as "Golden Eagles."

The deal marked the first time for South Korea to export the supersonic jets.
The two countries also agreed last year to jointly develop a fighter jet.

   "The two leaders agreed to further strengthen the defense industry cooperation system established through the export contract of our T-50 trainer jets and a joint fighter jet development project," the presidential office said in a statement.

  Lee and Yudhoyono reaffirmed that South Korea will participate as a main partner in Indonesia's economic development blueprint, known as the "Master Plan," and also share its economic development experience with the Southeast Asian nation, the statement said.

   A joint secretariat will also be established in Jakarta before year's end to facilitate cooperation for the Master Plan, which calls for making Indonesia the world's ninth-largest economy by 2025, the statement said.

   An economic cooperation vision to boost bilateral trade to $100 billion by 2020 was adopted as part of the meeting.

   In addition, the presidents welcomed the results of a joint study that showed the envisioned Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement between the two countries is feasible. 

A CEPA is similar to a free trade agreement. 

The sides agreed to step up efforts to realize the agreement, the statement said.

   On Friday and Saturday, Lee will attend a string of summit meetings, including a summit with the 10 member nations of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN); a meeting between ASEAN and South Korea, China and Japan; and a meeting of the East Asia Summit (EAS) forum.

   The ASEAN-led EAS forum comprises 18 member countries, including newest members Russia and the U.S., as well as the 10 ASEAN members, Australia, India and New Zealand. U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to attend the meeting for the first time.

   Obama's attendance is a focus of attention due to the possibility of him meeting with Lee to talk about the free trade agreement between the two countries. 

The trade pact, which was approved by the U.S. Congress last month, has been deadlocked in the South Korean parliament.

   The trip to Bali is part of Lee's two-nation Southeast Asian trip that will also take him to the Philippines on Sunday for a state visit including summit talks with President Benigno Aquino III.
(Yonhap News)