JAKARTA --- Indonesia rejected this year a proposal by the United States to allow its P-8 Poseidon maritime surveillance planes to land and refuel there, according to four senior Indonesian officials familiar with the matter.
U.S. officials made multiple “high-level” approaches in July and August to Indonesia’s defence and foreign ministers before Indonesia’s president, Joko Widodo, rebuffed the request, the officials said.
Representatives for Indonesia’s president and defence minister, the U.S. State Department press office and the U.S. embassy in Jakarta did not respond to requests for comment. Representatives for the U.S. Department of Defence and Indonesia’s foreign minister Retno Marsudi declined to comment.
The proposition, which came as the U.S. and China escalated their contest for influence in Southeast Asia, surprised Indonesia’s government, the officials said, because Indonesia has a long-standing policy of foreign policy neutrality. The country has never allowed foreign militaries to operate there. (end of excerpt)
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