Posted by: mel | April 25, 2009

China sells ASEAN nations weapons for oil

Intellasia | UPI | 25-APR-2009

Indonesian Defense minister Juwono Sudarsono visited China in November 2007 after a series of top-level discussions by other senior officials of both countries. These exchanges of top military officials evidence the steady escalation of military cooperation between the two countries.

Other high-level diplomatic visits were also exchanged. Indonesian vice President Jusuf Kalla visited China in June 2007, and in July of the same year Chinese Foreign minister Yang Jiechi paid a return visit to Indonesia. 

As a political favour to China, on March 12, 2008, Indonesian Foreign minister Hassan Wirajuda was the first among the countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations –with a combined population of half a billion people –to object overtly to Taiwan’s bid for membership in the United Nations. The foreign ministers of other Asean countries then followed suit. 

chinamilitary-fighters090423g600

Chinese Navy fighters attend an international fleet review to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Liberation Army Navy on April 23, 2009 in Qingdao of Shandong Province, China. Chinese warships and nuclear submarines were paraded as China holds an international fleet review, attended by 14 other nations including the United States and Russia, in the northern Chinese Navy port of Qingdao to mark the 60th anniversary of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy. (Getty)

 

In November, China sent Zhou Yongkang, a member of the Standing Committee of the Chinese Communist Party’s Politburo, to visit Indonesia to further strengthen the bilateral relationship between the world’s most populous nation and the world’s most populous Muslim nation. 

Indonesia is the richest in natural resources among Asean members, and China has been keen to develop economic cooperation in parallel with its strategic ties. China’s key imports from Indonesia currently include crude oil, petroleum refined from tar, petroleum byproducts, natural gas, coal and rubber. 

Trade between China and Indonesia was valued at US$28 billion last year. During a visit to Beijing by Indonesian Economic minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati last month, the two sides set a goal of US$30 billion for 2010. 

Starting this year, Indonesia will supply China’s southern coastal province of Fujian with 2.6 million cubic metres of natural gas every year, the contract is valid for 25 years. 

China is particularly interested in Indonesia’s rich crude oil resources. In 2007, Sinopec, China’s top oil and gas company, announced it would invest US$14 billion in Indonesia to develop crude oil and natural gas resources. China also plans to invest in developing Indonesia’s coal mines. 

It is not clear how Indonesia has paid for the Chinese weapons it has acquired so far, but Jakarta’s practice in recent years in procuring weapons from Poland, Russia and South Korea indicates that many of its deals have been negotiated through barter trade. 

It is safe to say that China’s efforts to strengthen military cooperation with Indonesia, as elsewhere around the world, are largely aimed at implementing its national energy-security strategy. 

In addition to Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and Brunei have all been targeted by China for weapons deals in exchange for oil. Increasingly, wherever there is oil, Chinese-made weapons can be found. 

With the exception of Vietnam, which has a longstanding mistrust of China, more Chinese-made weapons can be expected to appear throughout Southeast Asia in the years to come. 

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