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Indonesia election

Opposition candidate Subianto demands boost in Indonesia's military

Presidential contender berates Widodo's emphasis on peace in defense and diplomacy

Indonesian presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto speaks during a televised debate with his opponent Joko Widodo in Jakarta on March 30.   © Reuters

JAKARTA -- Opposition leader Prabowo Subianto lambasted President Joko Widodo, criticizing his opponent's economic diplomacy and peacemaker aspirations, while touting his own vision of building Indonesia's military might, as the two faced off in debate a few weeks ahead of the April 17 presidential vote.

"Diplomacy is not merely about playing mediator. You'll go nowhere if you only smile and play the nice guy in diplomacy," Subianto said in a fiery speech during the debate on Saturday night, where the two discussed defense and foreign policy. "Diplomacy should be part of efforts to safeguard the national interests; therefore diplomacy must be backed up by power."

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