WASHINGTON: Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken will travel to Jakarta December 13 – 14, where he will meet with Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, and other senior officials to reaffirm the strong U.S.-Indonesia Strategic Partnership and the importance of a free and open Indo-Pacific region. They will also discuss responses to the challenges of COVID-19 and the climate crisis, ways to strengthen democracy and human rights, as well as expanding cooperation in areas such as maritime cooperation, global health, and the digital economy.
Strengthening the U.S.-Indonesia Strategic Partnership
The United States and Indonesia share a deep and enduring Strategic Partnership based on shared values, including a fundamental belief in democracy. As the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation, Indonesia is well-positioned – both regionally and globally – to serve as an example for others of religious tolerance, plurality, and inclusion.
Strengthening our Strategic Partnership with Indonesia is a U.S. foreign policy priority, given Indonesia’s status as the world’s third-largest democracy, its historic leadership role in ASEAN, and its role as president of the G20. Secretary Blinken’s visit to Jakarta follows the first U.S.-Indonesia Strategic Dialogue held in Washington in August 2021, the November meeting in Glasgow between President Joseph R. Biden and President Joko Widodo, and President Joko Widodo’s participation in the Summit for Democracy in December.
The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged both our nations, and we will continue to work together to end this pandemic and strengthen the global health architecture to prevent the next. The United States has shared more than 25 million vaccine doses with the people of Indonesia through COVAX with more on the way. We look forward to further cooperation in fighting the pandemic and strengthening our economies.
Our two nations are committed to continuing our close collaboration to respond to the climate crisis through respective efforts and through our high-level Bilateral Climate Working Group, and to accelerating action this decade toward limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Indonesia also works closely with the United States through its collaboration with the Japan-U.S. Clean Energy Partnership, which aims to speed decarbonization efforts through sustainable private investment.
The United States and Indonesia are committed to strengthening democracy and the protection of human rights. Following the Summit for Democracy, our two nations will continue work to confront the serious challenges to democracy domestically and internationally and pursue actions to better protect human rights and ensure democracy delivers.
The United States and Indonesia Share a Vision of a Free and Open Indo-Pacific Region
The United States and Indonesia share a vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific region, including a commitment to freedom of navigation and overflight. Indonesia is a leader within ASEAN and an anchor of the rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific. The United States remains deeply engaged in the Indo-Pacific, and we and our partners believe the best way to prevent conflict is to reinforce our shared values.
We support Indonesia’s strong efforts to safeguard its maritime rights and stand up to PRC aggression in the South China Sea, including in its exclusive economic zone around the Natuna Islands.
Security cooperation is a key pillar of our strategic partnership. The United States is proud to be Indonesia’s largest defense partner in terms of the number of annual exercises and events in which we participate together. Our cooperation in counterterrorism and in countering violent extremism is also an important component of our joint efforts to build a safer world.
Growing Bilateral Trade and Investment Ties Will Help Our Economies Thrive
The United States remains deeply committed to Indonesia’s prosperity. We are invested in upholding a free and open Indo-Pacific in which all nations, including Indonesia, are able to pursue economic growth consistent with international law and principles of fair competition. Our bilateral trade and investment relationship presents myriad opportunities to create more jobs and economic growth to benefit all our citizens.
We are deploying new and innovative tools to bolster the engagement of U.S. businesses in Indonesia for the benefit of both countries. The U.S. International Development Finance Corporation is catalyzing U.S. private sector investment in Indonesia’s growing infrastructure, digital, and energy sectors, and the recent signing of a bilateral infrastructure finance agreement will attract private sector capital to meet Indonesia’s estimated $1.5 trillion infrastructure gap.
U.S. companies are major investors in Indonesia’s economy, contributing to sustainable growth across diverse sectors. Working collaboratively to elevate trade standards, including creating a more inclusive process that brings workers from all backgrounds to the table, will ensure that the benefits of global trade are more widely shared. We believe this will lead to more durable trade policies that receive a broad range of stakeholder support and deliver real results.
Shared Commitment to Increase Our People-to-People Ties
We recently celebrated 70 years of our bilateral relationship and continue to expand our people-to-people ties. Since 1952, more than 2,400 Indonesians and 1,200 Americans have received Fulbright scholarships to study, teach, or pursue important research and professional projects.
Nearly 40,000 Indonesians are members of the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI), the largest number from any ASEAN country. Each year, U.S. Mission Indonesia sends as many as 200 emerging Indonesian leaders to the United States to participate in a broad range of youth exchange programs, and prior to the pandemic approximately 8,300 Indonesians undertook study in the United States each year. The United States continues to work with Indonesia to increase the number of exchange students in both of our countries.