According to an official press release posted on the White House website, President Biden has welcomed President Joko Widodo to the White House, marking a historic new phase in bilateral relations with the two leaders elevating U.S.-Indonesia ties to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.
President Biden and President Widodo celebrated this unprecedented level of cooperation, built on shared values of democracy and pluralism, by announcing new initiatives to deliver a better future for our citizens and a free, open, prosperous, secure, and resilient Indo-Pacific.
President Biden thanked President Widodo for Indonesia’s leadership of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and underscored the U.S. commitment to deepening cooperation in Southeast Asia and with Indonesia. Since 2002, the United States has provided over USD 6.2-billion in development, economic, health, and security assistance to Indonesia, which includes more than USD 2-billion to advance education and health outcomes and over USD 1.2-billion to promote economic growth. Additionally, President Biden has requested a further USD 172-million in new programs across a range of sectors, including climate and the clean energy transition, economic growth, and health.
Furthering Economic Partnership on Shared Prosperity
The United States and Indonesia have long been partners in advancing prosperity across the Indo-Pacific, including through Indonesia’s leadership in the G20, U.S leadership as the 2023 chair of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, collaboration on quality investments through the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGI), the Indonesia Infrastructure and Finance Compact between the Millennium Challenge Corporation and the Government of Indonesia, and the United States and Indonesia’s cooperation in the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity.
As part of the two leaders’ commitment to upgrade bilateral ties, President Biden intends to announce the following programs to promote inclusive economic prosperity through investments in critical and emerging technologies; micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises; and sustainable development.
Diversifying the Global Semiconductor Ecosystem: The United States and Indonesia intend to partner to create a more resilient, secure, and sustainable global semiconductor value chain, beginning with a review of Indonesia’s current semiconductor ecosystem, regulatory framework, and workforce and infrastructure needs to inform our collaboration on developing this critical sector. The United States also intends to partner with industry associations to lead U.S. semiconductor company trade delegations to Indonesia.
Increasing Digital Connectivity in Rural Indonesia: The U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) will support a grant for Indonesia’s Ministry of Communication and Informatics (Kominfo) to assess the commercial and technical viability of deploying open radio access network (Open RAN) technology to provide digital connectivity for approximately 1,621-unserved villages across Indonesia.
Investing in Indonesia’s Emerging Enterprises: The U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) will provide USD 131-million in new financing to: advance financial inclusion and economic growth through a loan guaranty to Bank Sampoerna to support its lending to micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises; and provide a direct loan to expand Amartha Nusantara Raya’s microfinance lending to entrepreneurs in rural villages in Indonesia, specifically targeted to women-owned and women-operated businesses.
Launching a U.S.-Indonesia Tourism Partnership: The U.S. Department of Commerce intends to partner with Indonesia on a new initiative with tourism stakeholders to further strengthen travel and tourism between our two countries, especially in areas of business, education, and leisure.
Harnessing U.S. Private Sector Investments: The Government of Indonesia plans to partner with ExxonMobil on an investment of up to USD 15-billion to boost industrial growth and promote decarbonization in Indonesia and potentially across the Indo-Pacific, including a joint assessment by ExxonMobil and Pertamina of the potential for a carbon sequestration hub deep underground in the Java Sea, which could hold at least three billion metric tons of carbon dioxide.
Leading Action to Combat the Climate Crisis
President Biden reiterated his commitment to partnering with Indonesia on tackling the climate crisis and ensuring the United States and Indonesia are at the forefront of harnessing the clean energy transition. Indonesia and the United States will continue to closely collaborate on the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP), announced at the 2022 G20 Summit in Bali, which will reduce emissions and accelerate the deployment of renewable energy in Indonesia. The JETP mobilizes USD 20-billion in public and private financing in support of Indonesia’s ambitious climate commitments under the agreement. Building on JETP, PGI, and the USD 50-million U.S. commitment to Indonesia’s Forest and Other Land Uses (FOLU) Net Sink Bilateral Partnership, President Biden intends to announce the following new climate programs:
Partnering on Sustainable Energy and Minerals: President Biden will announce a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the U.S. Department of State and Indonesia’s Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources on sustainable energy and mineral development. The MOU advances technical cooperation on enabling environments and regulatory frameworks to help increase the uptake of renewable energy resources, enhance grid resiliency and security, improve technologies for responsible mining and minerals processing, and support Indonesia’s development of a lower-emissions critical mineral sector, supporting the objectives of the JETP.
Supporting Renewable Energy Mini Grids: USTDA intends to partner with Indonesia’s national utility PLN on a feasibility study for renewable energy mini-grids in five remote sites in eastern Indonesia. This JETP project develops a replication strategy for wider renewable mini-grid implementation across the region and will be conducted by U.S. company TQ Automation in public-private partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy’s national labs under the Net Zero World Initiative.
Advancing Clean Energy Transition Planning: The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) supports Indonesia’s national utility in developing its energy transition plan. The U.S. Department of Energy plans to work with Indonesia through the Net Zero World Initiative to evaluate coal phaseout scenarios, renewable energy pricing, and electrification modeling. Both efforts aim to accelerate integrating new, renewable energy sources and supporting policy reforms under the JETP Comprehensive Investment and Policy Plan.
Promoting Carbon Capture and Storage: The U.S. Commercial Law Development Program and the Indonesia Carbon Capture and Storage Center have partnered on a bilateral workplan to identify draft legislation and regulation to advance the carbon capture and storage sector. In September, Indonesia became the first Southeast Asian country to announce its intent to join the global Carbon Management Challenge, which aims to accelerate carbon capture, removal, use, and storage technologies.
Enhancing Power Connectivity within ASEAN: USTDA plans to support a cross-border interconnections feasibility study to support two priority grid interconnection projects between Indonesia and Malaysia. The feasibility study helps to better utilize renewable energy resources and implement policies to advance clean energy and climate protection goals across ASEAN, in line with JETP goals. This project builds on the USAID-funded ASEAN Interconnection Master Plan Study in support of the ASEAN Power Grid.
Strengthening Air Quality in Southeast Asia: The United States intends to further advance a partnership with the World Resources Institute that strengthens Indonesia’s national capacity to manage air quality and reduce air pollution. Additional funding fosters further collaboration with regional partners Malaysia and the Philippines through USAID’s Clean Air Catalyst Program.
Exploring Clean Energy Alternatives for Industrial Growth: The U.S. Department of Energy and Indonesia’s Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources intend to partner through the Net Zero World Initiative on a roadmap that identifies viable clean energy alternatives to captive coal-powered industrial growth. The roadmap encourages the creation of clean, high-value battery, semi-conductor, and nickel supply chains that meet world-class environmental and labor standards, in line with JETP goals.
Expanding our Waste Management Partnership: USAID intends to provide an additional USD 7.5-million to expand the SELARAS waste management program to at least 14-additional municipalities in Indonesia. The additional funding strengthens sector governance and financing, improves service delivery, and expands methane reduction capabilities.
Investing in Smart, Sustainable Development in Nusantara: Building upon USAID technical assistance to develop smart building guidelines and green space management, USTDA and the U.S. Department of Commerce plan to fund an Indonesian trade mission to the United States and a U.S. business development mission to Indonesia to discuss best practices as Indonesia plans its new capital city.
Advancing Regional Stability Through Deepened Security Cooperation
The United States and Indonesia are united by a shared commitment to ASEAN centrality and the common principles in the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific and the U.S. Indo-Pacific Strategy. President Biden announced new opportunities to advance our collective security through:
Expanding Cybersecurity Cooperation: The United States and Indonesia plan to announce their intent to upgrade bilateral cybersecurity cooperation through an MOU focused on countering threats from malicious state and non-state actors that threaten our nations, while also creating a conducive environment for leading technology, energy, and financial firms in Indonesia.
Bolstering Maritime Security: Through a joint Work Plan on Maritime Security, the United States and Indonesia plan to mobilize more than USD 5-million in assistance to enhance Indonesia’s maritime domain awareness and at-sea enforcement, as well as USD 3-million for the launch of the U.S.-funded Maritime Training Center in Batam.
Strengthening Defence Cooperation: The United States and Indonesia intend to sign a new Defense Cooperation Arrangement that broadens and deepens cooperation in defense professionalization; cyber; military medicine; space; combined exercises; recovery of prisoner of war/ missing in action remains; and countering chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear threats.
Enhancing our Counterterrorism Cooperation: With the aim to increase information sharing on terrorist threats, the United States and Indonesia intend to extend and enhance our existing MOU on counterterrorism cooperation in order to exchange best practices, prevent and counter violent extremism, and advance capacity building on border and aviation security.
Investing in a New Era of Enduring People-To-People Ties
President Biden and President Widodo celebrated the health and strength of our people-to-people ties marked by more than 8,400-Indonesians studying in the United States and more than 16,000-alumni of U.S. government-sponsored exchange programs in Indonesia.
President Biden highlighted the recently opened American Space at the Istiqlal National Mosque, the only American Space in the world located in a mosque, as well as Peace Corps’ goal of working with Indonesia to return operations to pre-pandemic levels. Building on this decades-long partnership and recognizing this new era of cooperation under a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, President Biden announced the following new programs to further strengthen these ties:
Educating the Next Generation: President Biden applauds President Widodo’s support for the establishment of a Georgetown University School of Foreign Service satellite program in Jakarta to facilitate degree programs for both American and Indonesian current and future policymakers, along with those from ASEAN member states. Georgetown’s presence will help build human capital and research capacity between Indonesia, the United States, and Southeast Asian countries in the fields of environment, development, governance, and security.
Restoring Indonesia’s National Museum: The United States intends to help Indonesia’s National Museum rebuild after suffering a devastating fire in September. The program plans to bring U.S. experts to Indonesia and fund training to help restore this national landmark in Jakarta.
Exchanging Experts on Education and Culture: Through a memorandum of understanding between the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art and a unit under the Indonesian Ministry of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology, the two countries will facilitate opportunities for training and partnership that deepen knowledge and build skills through peer-to-peer collaboration.
Expanding Ties between Health Experts: The United States and Indonesia intend to extend their five-year MOU on health cooperation when it expires in May 2024. The new MOU intends to enhance cooperation through increased research and technical collaboration, investment in human capital development, and strengthened work on pandemic preparedness, prevention, and response.
Investing in Health Preparedness: The United States and Indonesia plan to expand our health partnership between USAID and the Coordinating Ministry of Human Development and Cultural Affairs in the areas of health financing and global health security. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention intends to launch an initiative to provide five years of intensified support for Indonesia’s goal of improving immunization coverage and decreasing the burden of vaccine preventable diseases among children. The U.S. National Institutes of Health continues over a decade of partnership with Indonesia on clinical research to guide the management and prevention of diseases.
Source: The White House – official press release
Image by BPMI Setpres/ Laily Rachev