US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is scheduled to visit Indonesia and Malaysia next week as the Biden administration expands its involvement in Southeast Asia, a region that the government regards as critical to countering China’s expanding influence.
Indonesia’s director general for American and European Affairs, I Gede Ngurah Swajaya, told reporters on Monday that Blinken will visit Jakarta on December 13-14, making him the third and most senior US official to visit the area in two months.
Blinken is also likely to visit Malaysia on December 14-15, according to two Southeast Asian diplomatic sources who requested anonymity.It was unclear whether Blinken will go to other nations in the area. A representative for the US Embassy in Jakarta declined to comment.
Blinken is scheduled to make a lecture on health, investment, and infrastructure in the Indo-Pacific on his Indonesia leg, according to Ngurah. On December 9, Blinken will also participate remotely at the Bali Democracy Forum.
It was unclear whether Blinken will go to other nations in the area. A representative for the US Embassy in Jakarta declined to comment.
Blinken stated in September, during a meeting with Southeast Asian foreign ministers on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, that Washington would soon release a new strategy for the larger Indo-Pacific region that would build “on our shared vision for a free, open, interconnected, resilient, and secure region.”
The senior US diplomat for East Asia, Daniel Kritenbrink, said last week in Thailand that Washington was not pushing its friends to choose between it and China, but supporting a common vision of a rules-based world “where powerful countries don’t intimidate the weak.” Gina Raimondo, Commerce Secretary, also visited the region in mid-November to promote economic relations.