Subject: AN: RI considering to buy weapons from China

November 1, 2006

RI considering to buy weapons from China

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesia is considering to buy weapons from China to reduce its dependence on western countries such as the US in the matter of arms supplies, Defence Minister Juwono Sudarsono said here Wednesday.

Indonesia was looking at the possibility of buying arms from China with a view to avoiding losses in case it was subjected to an arms embargo like the one it had endured for 12 years since 1998 when the US and its allies declared a ban on exports of weapons to Indonesia.

The minister said other factors that prompted the government to consider buying weapons from China or other countries such as Russia were the lower prices and sophisticated technology those countries were offering and the absence of embargo threats from those countries.

He said the kinds of weapons to be bought from China still had to be determined and it was to that end that a defence ministry team would leave for China soon.

The minister admitted it was not easy to shift the country`s arms purchasing orientation from western to eastern countries. However, the shift had to be made in order to have room for maneuvering in case there was political pressure from western countries in the form of an arms embargo.(*)