Mon, Mar 23, 2015 - Page 5 News List

Widodo’s Japan visit to focus on money, defense

AFP, TOKYO

Indonesian President Joko Widodo was set to arrive in Tokyo late yesterday, commencing a week-long tour of Japan and China aimed at attracting investment and boosting defense cooperation.

“We want to develop [infrastructure], with particular focus on electric power plants, railways and expressways. I would like to ask [Japanese] Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for cooperation on this issue,” Widodo said in footage aired by Japan’s public broadcaster NHK.

Widodo, who took office in October last year, is to be in Japan until Wednesday, and is scheduled to meet Abe as well as Japanese businesspeople. Widodo told the Yomiuri Shimbun that he and Abe would sign a memorandum on boosting defense cooperation.

He said that China’s claim to virtually all of the South China Sea “has no legal foundation supported by international law.”

“We would absolutely like to learn Japan’s excellent experiences in protecting its waters,” he told the Yomiuri.

China has had occasionally tense confrontations with Japan and Southeast Asian countries — the Philippines and Vietnam in particular — over maritime disputes in the East China Sea and the South China Sea, respectively.

Indonesia “is ready to play a role of mediator,” Widodo told NHK.

Widodo has vowed to boost Indonesia’s economic growth, which slipped to its slowest pace in five years last year, and is seeking new investment.

The president, nicknamed Jokowi, is also to meet Japanese Emperor Akihito during the trip, which is his first as leader outside Southeast Asia. Widodo, in China on Thursday and Friday, is scheduled to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) and Chinese businesspeople. He is also to participate in the Boao Forum for Asia — an annual gathering of political and economic leaders.

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