Indonesian Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto told his Chinese counterpart, Wei Fenghe (魏鳳和), that his country would not accept a request for a Chinese military base in the country, reports said Friday (Sept. 11).
The conversation occurred during a meeting between the two top defense officials in Jakarta on Sept. 8, according to a report by Indonesian publication Kompas. Indonesia occupies a strategic location on the southern edge of the South China Sea and on the main sea route between China and the Indian Ocean, the Middle East, Europe and Africa.
Subianto also excluded the possibility that Indonesia would sign military accords with any other country, a military spokesman said. China would never be allowed to set up a base on Indonesian soil, as the government conducted an active foreign policy based on national freedom, a military spokesman said.
According to a U.S. report about China’s military published Sept. 1, Beijing was looking to expand its reach overseas by opening more bases. Djibouti in the Horn of Africa is one mooted location, but China is considering several other countries, from Sri Lanka and Myanmar, all the way to the Seychelles off the coast of East Africa, CNA reported.