China and Indonesia’s maritime stand-off last month saw China back down, but it is unlikely that this is the last of the conflict. A few days after China withdrew their intruding Coast Guard vessels, a 4,000-ton Chinese navy Jiangkai-class guided missile frigate coasted into Indonesia’s economic exclusion zone. The Indonesian Navy also sent warships to the North Natuna Sea to help combat their heavy adversary presence. These increased tensions have led Indonesia to work on keeping trade open with China while looking more to the U.S. as an ally. Only limited to non-lethal training, special forces training was resumed between the U.S. and Indonesia in 2010. According to sources, however, Kopassus officers recently participated in “full-on” combat training in Fort Bragg, North Carolina at the 1st Special Forces Command. Since the 15-year East Timor-related military embargo was lifted in 2005, this is the first “full-on” combat training between the two countries.
The Crossroads of Special Operations