Leaders from the United States and Indonesia are gearing up for a pivotal meeting that will set the stage for a much-anticipated face-to-face encounter between U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping. On Monday, President Biden will host his Indonesian counterpart, Joko Widodo, at the White House, as both leaders prepare for the upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in San Francisco, with hopes to ease tensions in the region, particularly with Beijing.
Key agenda items on the table for Biden and Widodo include enhancing cooperation in defense sectors such as cybersecurity, space exploration, joint military exercises, and nuclear threat mitigation. These discussions, reported by a senior Biden administration official who chose to remain anonymous, underscore the growing importance of regional security and collaboration.
In the realm of climate action, the United States and Indonesia are expected to unveil initiatives related to carbon capture and storage, bolstering the electrical grid infrastructure, and addressing air quality concerns. These cooperative efforts signify a commitment to combating climate change on a global scale.
Furthermore, there are ongoing discussions between the two nations concerning a potential partnership centered on electric vehicle (EV) battery metal nickel. This move aligns with the growing demand for EVs and clean energy technologies. However, concerns persist within the Biden administration regarding environmental, social, and governance standards in Indonesia. The details of such a partnership are still under examination, and both sides plan to outline a comprehensive plan to pave the way for future negotiations.
President Joko Widodo is also anticipated to raise the issue of Israel's conflict with Hamas during the meeting. Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim-majority nation, has expressed concern over U.S. support for Israel following recent hostilities. The discussions might encompass Indonesia's potential role in promoting peace in the Middle East, although specific details remain undisclosed.
Indonesia's geopolitical positioning is significant, as it navigates territorial disputes with China while seeking to maintain stable relations with both Washington and Beijing. As part of the discussions, Jakarta is expected to formally elevate its diplomatic relations with the United States to the highest tier.
Furthermore, President Biden is set to announce new funding initiatives to support Indonesia's semiconductor industry, signifying a commitment to enhancing economic ties between the two countries.
The leaders will also delve into Indonesia's diplomatic efforts to address the ongoing conflict in neighboring Myanmar. The military coup in Myanmar in 2021 has led to clashes with rebel alliances, prompting international concern. The meeting will explore potential collaborative measures to address this challenging situation.
President Joko Widodo, who was first elected in 2014, is constitutionally obligated to leave office next year after serving the maximum two terms. This transition of leadership adds an additional layer of significance to these discussions.
The summit between President Biden and President Widodo serves as a crucial step in shaping the evolving dynamics in the Asia-Pacific region. With tensions and opportunities abound, both leaders aim to navigate the complex geopolitical landscape in the best interests of their respective nations.