Pompeo in Jakarta to reaffirm US-Indonesia ties

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

Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi met United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Jakarta yesterday to reaffirm 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 comes after a busy few days for both officials who also met their other Asean counterparts in Singapore last week, with shifts in the world order and global trade tensions on the agenda.

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

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

He did not speak to the press after his talks with Ms Retno, but she told reporters that she had conveyed to Mr Pompeo that Indonesia welcomes the US approach towards North Korea, and hopes that 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 that time is needed before a peace plan on the Palestinian issue can be developed.

Indonesia and the US have had a strategic partnership since 2015, but they have enjoyed strong ties for decades 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, (and) 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 the US to lobby Washington in a bid to maintain trade ties amid escalating global trade tensions.

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

Mr Pompeo will call on President Joko Widodo today before returning to Washington.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 05, 2018, with the headline 'Pompeo in Jakarta to reaffirm US-Indonesia ties'. Print Edition | Subscribe