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Indonesia Set to Buy Arms from China (19 Sep 2002)

Indonesia plans to buy Chinese-made weapons to strengthen the country's armed forces, Defence Minister Matori Abdul Jalil said after meeting his Chinese counterpart Chi Haotian who began a five-day working visit here yesterday

Mr. Matori said the purchase plan was "part of the discussion" he had with Mr Chi, without giving any details on what kind of weapons Indonesia might buy.

Indonesian military officials complain frequently that they lack equipment and say much of what they do have is obsolete.

The military's official budget is not enough to cover its needs, which are supplemented by business ventures. Mr Chi is the second high-ranking Chinese official to visit Jakarta after China's No 2 Li Peng ended a four-day visit last week.

Mr. Chi said China was ready to make strenuous efforts with Indonesia for the "long term stability and development of the relationship between the two countries and the two armed forces.

He said a strong bilateral military relationship between Beijing and Jakarta would "contribute to regional peace and stability".

The minister was also scheduled to meet Coordinating Minister for Political and Security Affairs Susilo Bambang Yudhovono and to call on President Megawati Sukarnoputri.