Indonesia protests against 'US spy facilities' in region

Indonesia protests against 'US spy facilities' in region
On the right, General Keith Alexander, a director of US National Security Agency, waiting to deliver his remarks at a House Intelligence Committee hearing. On the left, Australian Ambassador Greg Moriarty being summoned to the Indonesian foreign ministry on November 1 following reports that Australian embassies were being secretly used to intercept phone calls and data across Asia as part of US-led global spying network.

CHINA said it would step up security in the wake of revelations of United States surveillance facilities in American embassies and consulates in the region, while Indonesia strongly protested against such snooping, if proven, as "a serious violation of diplomatic norms and ethics".

But official reaction in other Asian capitals yesterday, if any, remained muted to reports of surveillance facilities at embassies in Beijing, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Phnom Penh, Yangon, New Delhi and Islamabad.

In Washington, intelligence officials remained unapologetic, defending the practice of finding out what foreign leaders and others were thinking as something that other countries did as well.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hua Chunying told a daily news briefing that Beijing was "concerned about the continued revelations of eavesdropping and surveillance and is paying attention to how the situation develops", Reuters news agency reported.

"We will take the necessary steps to resolutely maintain the security of our own information," she said.

In Jakarta, Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said in a statement: "Indonesia cannot accept and has registered a strong protest at reports of surveillance facilities at the US embassy in Jakarta."

He said Indonesia had spoken with the charge d'affaires of the US Embassy to seek a formal explanation from the US government over the reports.

"We have to stress that if confirmed, such actions do not just constitute a breach of security, but are also a serious violation of diplomatic norms and ethics and are certainly not in line with the spirit of friendly relations between countries," Dr Natalegawa said.

Echoing a similar stand, Indonesian MP Mardani Ali Sera of Parliament's foreign affairs and defence committee told the Detik news portal: "The United States has made a big mistake by hurting its friendship with Indonesia."

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