Tue, 05 Jul 2022

Washington [US], May 16 (ANI): US State Secretary Antony Blinken during the US-ASEAN Special Summit met with his Indonesian counterpart Retno Marsudi where he highlighted the importance of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, women's rights in Afghanistan and possible collaboration between both countries for successful G20 host year for Indonesia.

"Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken met Friday with Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi in Washington, DC," read the State Department statement on Sunday.

The Secretary and the Foreign Minister discussed outcomes for the US-ASEAN Special Summit and the second Global COVID-19 Summit, which Indonesia co-hosted.

Blinken also thanked Indonesia for its leadership on global health issues and highlighted how the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework will help create a more open, interconnected, and prosperous region.

The two sides further discussed the importance of rights for women and girls in Afghanistan and how the United States and Indonesia can cooperate to strengthen their strategic partnership.

Finally, the Secretary and Foreign Minister Retno exchanged views on how both the countries can collaborate to ensure Indonesia has a successful G20 host year.

Taking to Twitter, Blinken wrote, "Met with Retno Marsudi during the US-ASEAN Special Summit and following the COVID-19 Leaders' Summit. We discussed Indonesia's G20 host year as well as how to deepen economic engagement and strengthen our strategic partnership."US President Joe Biden started a two-day summit on Thursday with the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Washington.

The US-ASEAN Special Summit was held for the first time in Washington to re-affirm the US' commitment to Southeast Asia and underscore the importance of US-ASEAN cooperation.

This visit comes as the Biden-Harris Administration's FY 2023 Budget Request included over USD 800 million in bilateral assistance for ASEAN partners and over USD 25 million to deepen relations with ASEAN and enhance ASEAN's capacity to tackle pressing regional challenges.

According to the White House press statement, the US and Southeast Asia benefit from US' far-reaching commercial and trade ties. ASEAN represents the world's fourth-largest market and the United States is ASEAN's largest source of foreign direct investment, while our two-way trade amounted to over USD 360 billion in 2020, the release said.

The White House emphasized that US-ASEAN relations are ultimately anchored in the special friendship shared by our combined one billion people.

"Our ongoing commitment to deepening people-to-people ties is marked by 7000 programs at 83 American Spaces in ASEAN countries, the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative's 155,000 alumni, and the connections forged through nearly 6 million U.S. visas, including student visas, granted to Southeast Asian travellers since 2010," the White House statement added.

To mark the important visit, the United States pledged over USD 150 million in investment to the ASEAN for maritime cooperation, infrastructure, and other initiatives.

"In that spirit, President Biden is announcing over USD 150 million in initiatives which we expect will mobilize billions more in private financing that will deepen U.S.-ASEAN relations, strengthen ASEAN centrality, and expand our common capacity to achieve our shared objectives," the White House statement said. (ANI)

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