Robertus Wardi, Jakarta – Indonesia on Tuesday (10/07) ratified a defense cooperation agreement with South Korea, providing legal footing for continuing joint military projects, including development of the KF-X/IF-X fighter jets.
The Indonesia-Korea Defense Cooperation Law covers the exchange of military personnel, weapons, and the formation of a committee to implement it.
"This defense cooperation will preserve the good relations between the two countries and improve the welfare and the security of our nations" Asril Hamzah Tanjung, deputy chairman of House of Representatives' Commission I, which oversees defense, said on Tuesday.
Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu said earlier that the law would allow the government to continue developing the 4.5 generation semi-stealth fighters.
Indonesia joined the $7.5 billion KF-X project in June 2010, by funding it in 20 percent and supplying engineers to work alongside South Koreans.
However, works have been suspended since May 1, as the Indonesian government decided to renegotiate its participation after unexpected restrictions arose with a United States ban on sharing its technology supplied to Korea. Indonesians involved in the project have been denied access to many of the KF-X/IF-X components.
The ban diminishes the technological contribution the project could have for Indonesia and prevents the country from selling the jointly produced jets, which as Ryamizard has insisted, should be Indonesia's right. Since Indonesia planned to finance the project from its state budget, these restrictions appear unacceptable, he said.
The cooperation with South Korea, however, is expected to continue. "Now we're just waiting for the president's instructions," the minister said.
Members of the House of Representatives requested that the government refrain from stopping the cooperation.
"Do not let the final decision [make it] come to a halt. That would disturb the bilateral relations and potentially even violate the law," said Hanafi Rais of the People's Mandate Party (PAN), who also sits on House Commission I.