Lingle inks Indonesian disaster partnership
Hawaii also will help promote democracy in the Asian nation
Gov. Linda Lingle and Indonesia's defense minister agreed in Jakarta yesterday to have the Hawaii National Guard and Indonesia's military work together to prepare their forces to help civilian leaders respond to natural disasters.
The two sides also will develop educational exchanges and work to enhance democratic institutions, according to a news release from the governor's office.
Lingle said she was confident the partnership will "serve the broader purpose of expanding and deepening the friendship between the peoples of Indonesia and Hawaii."
The governor is visiting Indonesia on the first leg of a 10-day, two-nation Asian tour that will later take her to Tokyo to promote Hawaii to Japanese travelers.
Maj. Gen. Robert Lee, state adjutant general and Hawaii National Guard commander, said the Hawaii-Indonesia pact would boost security in the Pacific.
"Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim nation, and it is in everyone's best interests to maintain stability and trade, both materially and the trade of ideas," Lee said.
The agreement between Hawaii and Indonesia is an extension of a program that the National Guard Bureau started in the early 1990s to foster relationships with the former Soviet republics. The Guard program already has expanded to the Asia-Pacific region, linking Alaska with Mongolia and Washington state with Thailand. Hawaii and Guam also have partnerships with the Philippines.