Pompeo in Jakarta to reaffirm US-Indonesia ties

Pompeo shakes hands with Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi during their meeting in Jakarta. PHOTO: REUTERS

JAKARTA - Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi met United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Jakarta on Saturday (Aug 4) and reaffirmed ties between their two countries.

Ms Retno also discussed Indonesia's own Indo-Pacific concept with Mr Pompeo, reiterating its key principles of inclusivity, openness, prioritising cooperation, a habit of dialogue, respect for international law, and Asean centrality.

The meeting at the Foreign Ministry came after a busy few days for both officials, who met their other Asean counterparts in Singapore this week, with shifts in the world order and global trade tensions high on the minds of many.

Mr Pompeo arrived in Jakarta from Singapore on Saturday after attending the East Asia Summit ministerial meeting and the Asean Regional Forum.

On Friday, Mr Pompeo pushed to reassure his counterparts that Asean was central to Washington's Indo-Pacific strategy, which thus far has had a lukewarm reception from members of the regional bloc.

He did not speak to the press after his talks with Ms Retno, but she told reporters she had conveyed to Mr Pompeo how Indonesia welcomed the US approach towards North Korea, and hopes it will result in a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula.

"I also conveyed the importance of paying attention to the resolution of the Palestinian problem," said Ms Retno, referring to the Israel-Palestine conflict. "For Indonesia, the completion of a two-state solution is the only way to go."

According to Ms Retno, Mr Pompeo did not object to a two-state solution but said time was needed for a peace plan on the Palestinian issue to be developed.

Indonesia and the US have had a strategic partnership since 2015, but they have enjoyed strong ties and will mark 70 years of diplomatic relations next year.

"I said earlier that for next year's commemoration, the theme proposed by Indonesia is to celebrate our diversity, prosper together as strategic partners," said Ms Retno.

The US is the fourth largest trade partner for Indonesia and its sixth largest investment partner.

Indonesia last month sent a trade delegation to US to lobby Washington to maintain its trade ties amid an escalating global trade war.

Ms Retno told Mr Pompeo that she has received positive reports from the delegation about the visit.

Mr Pompeo will be calling on President Joko Widodo on Sunday before returning to Washington.

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