Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo met with US officials and businesses ahead of the ASEAN-US Special Summit, trying to woo potential investors to Indonesia and the region while stressing the importance of ASEAN for peace and prosperity.
Jokowi and several other ASEAN leaders met with US businesses at the Intercontinental Willard Hotel in Washington, DC.
The president told the business leaders that as the president of the Group of 20 (G20) this year, Indonesia wanted to make sure that the upcoming G20 Summit could serve as a catalyst for global economic recovery, especially for developing countries.
“This will need strong partnership between governments and business communities. I hope that CEOs of US companies can build concrete cooperation in the G20 with ASEAN, especially Indonesia,” he said.
He said Indonesia had potential in raw industries, green energy, as well as the digital economy, being one of the largest nickel-producing nations and the second-largest producer of stainless steel.
Indonesia is also home to copper and bauxite as materials for aluminum, which could become the backbone for renewable energies such as lithium batteries and electric vehicles, in addition to other sources for green energy such as hydro, solar and geothermal powers, he added.
“We are making sure to produce important commodities for environmentally friendly electricity generators. We invite American businesses to invest in Indonesia,” Jokowi said.
On May 12, Jokowi also met with US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and several members of Congress at Capitol Hill, urging the US to be a part of peace, stability, as well as inclusive, mutually beneficial cooperation in the Indo-Pacific.
“Since 2019, ASEAN has agreed on the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific to ensure peace and stability in the region. I urge the US to become the anchor of peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific,” Jokowi said on May 12.
The president also broached the topic of the Ukraine conflict, saying that it had “created an enormous human tragedy and impacted the global economy”.
He warned that a similar conflict could erupt in other regions, including the Indo-Pacific, if international law was disrespected, multilateralism neglected and unilateralism prioritised.
“We want America to become ASEAN’s strategic partner … I am sure that together we can see prosperity in the Indo-Pacific,” Jokowi said.
Jokowi and ASEAN leaders met with US President Joe Biden for the first ASEAN-US summit in Washington, DC, on May 12-13.
The summit marked the first time ASEAN leaders gathered as a group there and their first meeting hosted by a US president since 2016.
Jokowi said the ASEAN-US strategic and comprehensive partnership was one of the most important for a “world situation that is full of uncertainties”.
The Biden administration promised support for clean energy and maritime security as part of a campaign to show that the US prioritised Asia despite the recent intense focus on the Ukraine conflict.
The White House announced $150 million for the initiatives, a modest sum compared to the $40 billion package allocated for Ukraine and billions that China had invested in ASEAN as the region’s largest trading partner.
THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK