The Straits Times
Published on Sep 03, 2012

Clinton to visit Indonesia with hopes of encouraging Asean unity


BRISBANE (AFP) - United States (US) Secretary of State Hillary Clinton headed on Monday to Indonesia in hopes of encouraging unity among South-east Asian nations to manage increasingly tense disputes with China.

Mrs Clinton's last trip to the region in July was marred by the failure of the Association of South-east Asian Nations (Asean) to reach a consensus at talks in Cambodia, amid divisions in the 10-member group on how to treat a rising China.

The top US diplomat will meet Indonesian leaders including President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and also visit the headquarters of Asean, part of her effort to promote ties with the economically dynamic and mostly US-friendly bloc.

She hopes "to get a sense of where we are and to get the Indonesians' advice about how we can be supportive, how we can put more wind into the sails of a diplomatic effort, which is what we all very much want", a senior US official said on her airplane on customary condition of anonymity.