Blinken to visit Indonesia and Malaysia next week

Blinken to visit Indonesia and Malaysia next week

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will be making a work trip to Indonesia and Malaysia next week as the Biden administration ramps up engagement in Southeast Asia. Blinken is the third and most senior U.S. official to visit the region in two months. He will visit Jakarta on December 13-14, and Malaysia on December 14-15. The trip to Malaysia will be his first-ever.

When in Indonesia, Blinken is due to deliver a speech on health, investment, and infrastructure in the Indo-Pacific. He will also participate virtually in the Bali Democracy Forum on December 9. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo had also visited the region in mid-November to promote economic ties.

At a meeting with Southeast Asian foreign ministers on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in September, Blinken had said that Washington will be releasing a new strategy for the wider Indo-Pacific region. The strategy will build on their shared vision for a free, open, interconnected, resilient and secure region.

Top U.S. diplomat for East Asia, Daniel Kritenbrink said last week in Thailand that Washington was not asking its allies to choose between it and China, promoting instead a shared vision of a rules-based order “where large countries don’t bully the weak.”