US strategic partner for Asean in Indo-Pacific region: FM Marsudi

US strategic partner for Asean in Indo-Pacific region: FM Marsudi

ASEAN-US SUMMIT. Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi represents President Joko Widodo at the virtual 8th Asean-US Summit on Saturday (Nov. 14, 2020). She joined the meeting from the Bogor Presidential Palace in West Java on Saturday. (Biro Pers Sekretariat Presiden)

JAKARTA – The United States is one of Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ (Asean) strategic partners in the Indo-Pacific region, Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said at an online press conference after attending the 8th Asean-US Summit on Saturday.

Marsudi, who represented President Joko Widodo at the virtual meeting, joined the summit from the Bogor Presidential Palace in West Java.

“Indonesia hopes the Asean-US friendship will remain strong in the future. Looking ahead, Indonesia will always hope the US becomes an important and strategic partner in the Indo-Pacific region, including in the application of Asean Outlook on the Indo-Pacific,” the minister said.

The partnership will hopefully serve as a positive force to achieve regional peace, stability, and prosperity, she said.

In the economic and development sector, the US has been Asean’s second biggest trade and investment partner over the past four years, she pointed out.

Trade between the US and Asean has increased 39 percent from USD211.8 billion to USD294.6 billion, she said.

“The US investment in the region has also jumped 110 percent from USD11.65 billion to USD24.5 billion,” she noted.

In the energy sector, Asean and the US have drafted a plan for long-term cooperation (2021-2025), in addition to collaboration in the digital economy sector through programs to boost the capacity of about four thousand micro, small, and medium entrepreneurs, she added.

The Asean-US partnership has also strengthened during the Covid-19 pandemic, which has lasted for 10 months, she noted.

US National Security Adviser Robert C. O’Brien represented President Donald Trump at the 8th Asean-US Summit. (Antara)

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