US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to Join ASEAN Talks in Jakarta


Jakarta, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is scheduled to attend a string of foreign policy talks hosted by ASEAN chair Indonesia this week.

Senior diplomats from ASEAN countries and the group’s dialogue partners, among others, will assemble in Jakarta on July 11-14 for foreign ministerial-level talks. Blinken is on the guest list and is expected to talk about his country’s ties with the Southeast Asian bloc.

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“Foreign ministers of the US, Canada, and Russian Federation, among others, will join the upcoming meeting,” Sidharto Suryodipuro, the director-general for ASEAN cooperation at the Foreign Affairs Ministry, told a presser in Jakarta on Monday evening.

According to Sidharto, China, New Zealand, and Japan, among others, will also assign their foreign ministers to join the ASEAN meeting. Pakistan, North Korea, and Papua New Guinea, however, will send officials that are of lower level than foreign ministers.

Last week, US Department of State spokesperson Matthew Miller unveiled Blinken’s Jakarta trip. Blinken will join the annual US-ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, and ASEAN Regional Forum during this visit.

Read more: Indonesia ready to welcome ASEAN foreign ministers, dialogue partners

“At each meeting, the Secretary will emphasize the US’s commitment to ASEAN centrality and support for the ASEAN-US Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. He will address economic cooperation, the global fight against climate change, the ongoing crisis in Burma, the situation in the South China Sea, and Russia’s war against Ukraine,” Miller was quoted as saying on the US Department of State’s official website on Friday.

“The Secretary will also participate in the second US-Indonesia Strategic Dialogue alongside his counterpart, Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi,” Miller said.

The US government reported that its goods and services trade with ASEAN amounted to $362.2 billion in 2020. The US recorded a trade deficit of $138.4 billion with the regional grouping that year.

Indonesia-US bilateral trade totaled $39.8 billion last year. Trade was in Indonesia’s favor as the Southeast Asian nation posted a surplus of $16.6 billion with the US, according to the Trade Ministry.

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The US is one of the five nuclear weapon states that ASEAN countries are trying to nudge into acceding to the Southeast Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone (SEANWFZ) protocols. The four other nuclear weapon states are China, France, Russia, and the UK. The SEANWFZ treaty is on the agenda in this week’s ASEAN meeting.

The US has formed the AUKUS trilateral security pact with the UK and Australia. Under the AUKUS, the US and the UK will help Australia acquire nuclear-powered submarines.

Source Jakarta Globe
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