Indonesia, US join hands for strategic maritime centre

Indonesia, US break ground on joint strategic maritime centre

The US collaboration with the world's largest archipelagic nation comes amid rising tensions in the South China Sea

Berhala island, Riau, Indonseaia. Credit: iStock Photo

Indonesia and the United States have broken ground on a new $3.5 million maritime training centre in the strategic area of Batam, in the Riau Islands, Indonesia's maritime security agency said.

Attending the ceremony virtually on Friday, the US ambassador to Indonesia, Sung Kim, said the maritime centre would be part of ongoing efforts between the two countries to bolster security in the region.

Read more: On way back from South China Sea, US Navy’s Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group holds drills with India’s warships, fighter jets

"As a friend and partner to Indonesia, the United States remains committed to supporting Indonesia's important role in maintaining regional peace and security by fighting domestic and trans-national crimes," he said, according to a statement from Bakamla, Indonesia's maritime security agency.

The training centre, located at the strategic meeting point of the Malacca Strait and the South China Sea, will be run by Bakamla and houses classrooms, barracks and a launch pad, the agency said.

The US collaboration with the world's largest archipelagic nation comes amid rising tensions in the South China Sea, with the Philippines protesting the presence of hundreds of Chinese vessels in the Spratly islands this May.

Earlier this month the foreign ministers of Southeast Asia and China agreed during a meeting to exercise restraint in the South China Sea and avoid actions that could escalate tensions. 

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