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Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III Remarks Welcoming His Excellency Prabowo Subianto, Minister of Defence for the Republic of Indonesia to the Pentagon

SECRETARY OF DEFENSE LLOYD J. AUSTIN III:  Well, Mr. Minister, welcome back to the Pentagon. It's great to see you again, and looking forward to continuing our important work together. 

Let me start by congratulating you on all of Indonesia's success as ASEAN's chair, and I look forward to visiting Jakarta in November for the ADMM-Plus. It goes without saying that Indonesia continues to be a key leader in upholding peace, security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific. Our two democracies have been partners for many years, and the ties between our countries run deep. And next year, I look forward to celebrating the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations between our countries. 

Now, democratic values are at the core of our relationship, and as two of the world's largest democracies, our countries must remain committed to the rule of law and sovereignty for all countries. So I'm really glad to see the continuing upward trajectory in our relationship, and we'll continue to look at ambitious ways to deepen this trend. 

You know, you can see the growth of our relationship in our work to upgrade our strategic partnership to a comprehensive strategic partnership, and our defense cooperation is expanding, as well. We're building on some notable firsts from this past year such as the first-ever U.S. training mission with high-end air assets in Indonesia, and Indonesia's first F-16 air-to-air refueling certification and the delivery of your first C-130Js; also marks the first time that Indonesia has had cadets in all three of our military service academies, and this is something that you and I spoke about when we were last together, so congratulations.

I look forward to jointly committing to a roadmap to upgrade our defense partnership through our defense cooperation arrangement, so we indeed have a lot to talk about today, and I'm eager to discuss ways that we can continue to bolster our defense relationship. 

Mr. Minister, thanks again for your leadership and for all that you're doing to strengthen the bond between our countries. Again, thanks for making the trip. It's great to see you, and I look forward to a great conversation.