Leaders from the United States and Indonesia will convene on Monday to hold discussions that will lay the groundwork for U.S. President Joe Biden’s upcoming in-person meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping, marking his first face-to-face encounter with Xi in a year.
President Biden will host Indonesian President Joko Widodo at the White House as they prepare for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in San Francisco, with the aim of easing tensions with Beijing.
During the meeting, it is anticipated that Biden and Widodo will agree to enhance cooperation in defense sectors, which will include cybersecurity, space, joint exercises, and nuclear threats. A senior Biden administration official, who wished to remain anonymous, shared these details.
In terms of climate-related matters, the United States will unveil collaborative efforts with Indonesia on carbon capture and storage, support for the electricity grid, and improvement of air quality.
According to Reuters, both countries are actively working towards establishing a mineral partnership focused on nickel, a key metal used in electric vehicle (EV) batteries. This information was sourced from three individuals with direct knowledge of the discussions.
However, the Biden administration remains concerned about environmental, social, and governance standards in Indonesia, and is currently assessing the viability of such a partnership. The two parties will reveal a plan that will lay the foundation for negotiations on this matter, as confirmed by a U.S. official.
President Widodo, also known as Jokowi, is expected to raise the issue of ending the Israel-Hamas conflict with President Biden. Indonesia, being the largest Muslim-majority nation with a population of 270 million, has witnessed significant outrage among Muslims due to Biden’s support for Israel. According to Israeli officials, Hamas militants killed around 1,200 people and captured over 200 hostages on October 7. Palestinian officials claim that Israeli airstrikes have resulted in the deaths of more than 11,000 residents in Gaza.
Similar to other Southeast Asian countries, Indonesia’s economy is closely tied to that of China. As it navigates territorial disputes with its larger neighbour, Indonesia aims to avoid becoming entangled in the tense relations between Washington and Beijing. President Biden is scheduled to meet with President Xi on Wednesday.
During the meeting, it is expected that Jakarta will officially elevate its diplomatic relations with Washington to the highest level. Additionally, President Biden is set to announce new funding for Indonesia’s semiconductor industry, as shared by anonymous sources.
The two leaders will also discuss Indonesia’s diplomatic efforts to resolve the conflict in neighbouring Myanmar. Since a military coup took place in Myanmar in 2021, resulting in the military assuming control and engaging in clashes with rebel alliances, Indonesia has been actively involved in seeking a resolution, according to one official.