US is Indonesia's Strategic Partner: Minister Marsudi

Arfi Bambani
US State Secretary Antony Blinken (left) and Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi in Jakarta, Dec 14, 2021, ANTARA/HO-Kemlu RI)
US State Secretary Antony Blinken (left) and Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi in Jakarta, Dec 14, 2021, ANTARA/HO-Kemlu RI) - The governments of Indonesia and the United States are committed to continuing to enhance concrete cooperation that is mutually beneficial and respectful.

“The US is Indonesia's strategic partner. With the several values shared by the two countries, it is believed that concrete strategic partnerships will continue to strengthen," Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi remarked while delivering a press statement with visiting US State Secretary Antony Blinken reported by Antara news agency on Tuesday, December 14, 2021.

On the occasion, the two countries signed three memoranda of understanding (MoU) in the fields of maritime affairs, education, and the Peace Corps Program initiated by the US to boost people-to-people contact. Extension of the MoU on maritime cooperation, valid until 2026, includes cooperation in maritime security, marine resources, fisheries conservation, and management, as well as maritime safety and navigation.

"Meanwhile, in order to strengthen cooperation in the security field, we have agreed to establish a 2+2 dialogue mechanism between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Defense at the senior official level," she affirmed.

Indonesia and the US also reaffirmed their commitment to boosting trade and investment cooperation. The Indonesia-US bilateral trade figure reached US$29.6 billion (around Rp424 trillion) during the January-October 2021 period, an increase of 33.9 percent, from the corresponding period last year.

In 2020, the US investment in Indonesia was recorded at US$749.7 million (approximately Rp10.7 trillion). Meanwhile, during the January-September 2021 period, the investment value reached US$1.3 billion (around Rp18.6 trillion), an increase of 73 percent within nine months.

"Indonesia has also expressed hope that the US would continue to provide GSP facilities. Investment opportunities in Indonesia are very wide open in the fields of health, digital, and energy transition," Marsudi noted.

The minister referred to the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), specifically the import duty tariff exemption program provided by the US for developing countries.

As a follow-up to the Supply Chain Summit in Glasgow, a high-level conference attended by Indonesian President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) at the invitation of US President Joe Biden, Indonesia proposed the establishment of a Supply Chain Task Force.

In the field of development, Indonesia lauded the US commitment in the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Compact-2 for sustainable development projects in Indonesia, specifically green economy development, digitalization, access to funding as well as gender equality, and funding for women's MSMEs.

At a bilateral meeting with Blinken, Marsudi lauded the US support for Indonesia during the COVID-19 pandemic, including the donation of 25.4 million doses of vaccine that the US provided to Indonesia through the COVAX Facility. The minister also expressed hope that in the long term, the two countries could develop cooperation for the development of mRNA technology vaccines.

Blinken was on a visit to Indonesia on December 13-14, 2021, aimed at affirming the RI-US strategic partnership and the importance of a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

His agenda in Jakarta included meetings with President Jokowi and Minister Marsudi as well as delivering a speech on the US policies at the University of Indonesia.

Security in the Indo-Pacific

On another occasion, while delivering an address at the University of Indonesia, visiting US State Secretary Antony J. Blinken avowed his country's commitment to intensifying security in the Indo-Pacific along with allies and partners.

"We will bolster security in the Indo-Pacific. Threats are evolving, and our security approach must evolve with them. To do that, we will lean on our greatest strengths, which are our alliances and partnerships," Blinken remarked.

The U.S. will adopt an “integrated deterrence” strategy that more closely weaves together all US instruments of national power, with those of US allies and partners, according to Blinken.

"Our enhanced trilateral partnership with Australia and the United Kingdom (AUKUS) is a prime example, as it will advance our strategic interests, uphold the international rules-based order, and promote peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific," he remarked.

Blinken noted that President Biden had told President Xi Jinping of China that the two leaders share a profound responsibility to ensure that competition between both nations did not veer into conflict.

"Diplomacy will continue to be our tool of first resort in meeting that responsibility of ensuring the potential for conflict in the region is minimized, managed, and ultimately deterred," he affirmed.

"The United States recognizes that much of our planet’s future will be written in the Indo-Pacific. Our enduring commitment to this region and our collaboration with our allies and partners will help us to achieve a free and open, interconnected, prosperous, resilient, and secure region for all," Blinken added.

Tag # indonesia # united states # indo-pacific # south china sea # north natuna sea # geopolitics

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