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Indonesia's Prabowo reiterates 'Asian Way' to defuse tension, Al Jazeera says

JAKARTA — As Indonesia's president elect Prabowo Subianto prepares to enter office in October, he looks set to take a more assertive stance in foreign policy, saying that diplomacy, negotiations, and the "Asian way" have helped to defuse tension.

Prabowo, 72, won February's general election by a huge margin along with his running-mate Vice President Gibran Rakabuming Raka, the eldest son of outgoing President Joko Widodo.

In an interview with Qatar news channel Al Jazeera broadcast on Sunday, Prabowo said Southeast Asia had experienced wars, foreign colonisation, and interference in internal politics.

But, he added, "We solved it without foreign interference, we talked, we met."

The comments came in response to a question on what meaning the term "Asian Way" held for him.

Asked about competition between China and the United States for influence in the region, the former special forces commander said Indonesia was very open to both countries.

"We respect you, and are grateful for your past assistance," he said.o

"We invite the US the Japanese, the Koreans, the European. The fact that we are friends with you doesn't mean we can't be friends with China, India, Russia," he added, invoking Indonesia's tradition and history of non-alignment.

At a regional forum last November, Prabowo said Indonesia was committed to its policy of non-alignment and would maintain good ties with both China and the United States.

In April, he visited China, Japan, and Malaysia on his first foreign trip since winning the presidential election.

During the interview, he denied democratic backsliding, saying that Indonesia had seen years of peaceful transfers of government, despite problems that needed to be tackled, such as rampant corruption.