US state secretary Blinken to visit Malaysia and Indonesia next week


KUALA LUMPUR/JAKARTA (Reuters): US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is due to visit Indonesia and Malaysia next week because the Biden administration ramps up engagement in South-East Asia, a bloc it sees as central to its efforts to counter China’s rising affect.

I Gede Ngurah Swajaya, Indonesia’s director basic for American and European Affairs, informed reporters on Monday that Blinken will visit Jakarta on Dec 13-14, the third and most senior US official to visit the area in two months.

Two Southeast Asian diplomatic sources, who requested anonymity, mentioned Blinken was additionally anticipated to visit Malaysia on Dec 14-15 in his maiden journey to the area.

During his Indonesia leg, Blinken is due to ship a speech on well being, funding, and infrastructure within the Indo-Pacific, Ngurah mentioned. Blinken can even take part nearly within the Bali Democracy Forum on Dec 9.

It was not instantly clear whether or not Blinken will likely be visiting different international locations within the area. A US embassy spokesman in Jakarta declined to remark.

At a gathering with Southeast Asian overseas ministers on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in September, Blinken mentioned Washington would quickly launch a brand new technique for the broader Indo-Pacific area, that might construct “on our shared imaginative and prescient for a free, open, interconnected, resilient and safe area.”

Daniel Kritenbrink, the highest US diplomat for East Asia, mentioned final week in Thailand that Washington was not asking its allies to select between it and China, selling as a substitute a shared imaginative and prescient of a rules-based order “the place massive international locations do not bully the weak.” Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo additionally visited the area in mid-November selling economies ties. – Reuters

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