Indonesia seeks stronger cooperation with US

Jakarta (ANTARA News) – Indonesia will seek a stronger partnership with the United States during the visit of Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi to Washington DC on May 4 and 5.

The ministers visit to the United States is aimed at optimizing dialogue mechanism in several areas of cooperation between the two countries, Ministry of Foreign Affairs official website stated here on Friday.

On Thursday, Minister Marsudi met US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, during a bilateral meeting in Washington.

Both ministers discussed the strengthening of the economic cooperation mechanism that is expected to increase trade volume and investment between Indonesia and the United States.

Minister Marsudi and Tillerson have agreed to revitalize the mechanism of the Indonesia-US Trade Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA), for which a meeting will take place in June 2017.

“TIFA is not only expected to boost trade and investment growth, but also identify steps to be taken to improve the interaction of economic cooperation between the two countries,” Minister Marsudi said on the ministrys website.

Minister Marsudi also discussed several global issues with Secretary Tillerson, such as tensions in the Korean Peninsula.

She underlined that an open conflict will not only disrupt security, peace and stability in the region, but also upset the economic growth and development of nations in the Asia-Pacific region.

“Indonesia is consistent, asking North Korea to obey all the UN Secretary Council Resolutions on denuclearization and to put forward dialogue process in solving problems in the Korean Peninsula,” Marsudi said.

During the meeting with Tillerson, Minister Marsudi also discussed the plan and commitment of the US Government to promote the peace process between Palestine and Israel.

The two-state solution is fundamental in realizing peace between Palestine and Israel, Marsudi said.

“Indonesia will continue what the country can do to see that the Palestine state stands up equally and lives side by side with other countries in the Middle East,” Minister Marsudi said.

In Washington DC, Minister Marsudi also met Vice President Mike Pence and US House Speaker Paul Ryan to hold an in-depth discussion on efforts to improve the strategic partnership between the two countries. The United States has become an important market for Indonesian products, with its exports to the country reaching US$15.68 billion in 2016.

The United States is also the fourth-largest trade partner for Indonesia, as the total value of bilateral trade reached $23.4 billion in 2016, while the United States investment in Indonesia clocked $1.16 billion spread across 540 projects.

In addition to discussing efforts to intensify strategic partnership between the two countries, Marsudi highlighted the opportunity for enhancing cooperation in promoting the values of pluralism and tolerance.

Pence, during his earlier visit to Indonesia, had expressed his admiration to the values of tolerance, diversity, and the practice of moderate Islam in Indonesia.

With regards to Pences view, Minister Marsudi said the values of pluralism and tolerance have become Indonesias soft power and the main capital in preventing radicalization and terrorism.

“The values of pluralism and tolerance are Indonesias national assets that are lauded by other nations, including the United States. We have to be proud and continue to maintain the noble values of this nation and uphold tolerance and pluralism.”

Source: Antara News