Fri, Dec 10, 2010 - Page 5 News List

Indonesia warns of gap in political development

BROTHERS IN ARMS:On the sideline of the Bali forum, the South Korean and Indonesian leaders are mulling whether to jointly manufacture weapons

AFP AND BLOOMBERG, NUSA DUA, INDONESIA

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono warned yesterday that uneven political development posed a threat to Asian security, as he opened the third annual Bali Democracy Forum.

He said in a speech that regional cooperation had focused almost exclusively on economic development but there was an “urgent need to overcome the ‘political development’ gap” as well.

“If we don’t handle this carefully, this political development gap could cause trouble for development, create political instability and become a security threat to the region,” he said. “It is important that we have a better understanding of peace and democracy which must become part of regional cooperation.”

The forum is an initiative of Yudhoyono’s to encourage open discussion of democracy among the region’s disparate states.

This year’s forum is being co-chaired by Yudhoyono and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, who is no stranger to the gap of political development between his country and North Korea.

Meanwhile, the countries of the two chairs are considering whether to jointly manufacture weapons and deepen military ties.

Yudhoyono will send an envoy to South Korea next year to discuss the possibility of jointly making weapons including tanks, submarines and trainer jets, the South Korean presidential office said today in a statement.

South Korea aims to boost annual weapons exports to US$4 billion in 2020, Lee’s office said on Oct. 19.

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