Carter Engages With Indonesian, Regional Leaders
By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service
JAKARTA, Indonesia, Mar. 20, 2013 On the last leg of his weeklong trip to Asia, Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter spent two days here visiting defense and government officials, delivering remarks at an international conference, and holding bilateral talks with leaders from nations in the region.
This was Carter’s second trip to Asia since January 2012, when President Barack Obama announced details of the new U.S. defense strategy.
A main element of the strategy was a rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region for U.S. military forces after a decade-long focus on the Middle East made necessary by a war in Iraq that ended in December 2011 and a war in Afghanistan that will end in December 2014.
Carter arrived in Jakarta on March 18 after visits this week with leaders in Japan, South Korea and the Philippines. Today, he spoke on the opening day the third Jakarta International Defense Dialogue, called the JIDD.
Carter spoke today during the event's first session, an international panel, reaffirming the strategic importance of the U.S. rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region and outlining how the United States is implementing the rebalance from a defense perspective.
The deputy secretary also had bilateral meetings today with defense ministers from Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, and also met with members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, called ASEAN, a group formed in 1967 to help in building regional stability.
ASEAN member states are Burma, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. The United States supports ASEAN-led defense cooperation in critical areas that include humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, maritime security, nonproliferation and counterterrorism.
Upon his arrival in Jakarta, Carter began his visit at the residence of David Carden, U.S. ambassador to ASEAN, where he met with members of the ASEAN Committee of Permanent Representatives, the association’s highest permanent governmental body.
The committee consists of ambassadors from each of the 10 ASEAN member states posted to the ASEAN Secretariat. The deputy defense secretary and the ambassadors shared perspectives on regional security issues and discussed U.S. policy in the Asia-Pacific region.