Before I address the issues that Marty raised, let me just very clearly condemn the attack on our consulate personal in Peshawar, Pakistan. We pray for the safe recovery of both American and Pakistani victims and once again we deplore the cowardly act of suicide bombing and terrorism that has affected so many people around the world, and which we all must stand against.
Here in Indonesia, one of the very first countries I visited as Secretary of State, we have seen our relationship grow stronger and deeper. The U.S.-Indonesia Comprehensive Partnership is a foundation for America’s renewed engagement in the Asia Pacific, and I’m looking forward to welcoming the Foreign Minister and the Indonesian delegation to Washington in just a few weeks.
One focus of America’s engagement here is promoting economic growth through trade and development. The Indonesian Government has announced more than half a trillion dollars in planned infrastructure improvement, and our government and our businesses strongly support this commitment by the Indonesian Government. We want to do even more in working to enhance jobs and economic growth for both our countries and the people of them. We think Indonesia’s growth, which continues to be so strong, is essential not only for Indonesia but regionally and globally.
We also believe that education remains the cornerstone of economic growth and individual advancement in the 21st century economy. To that end, I’m pleased to announce that USAID will invest $83 million during the next five years to support primary education in Indonesia, and we also providing a $20 million fund for graduate training for Indonesian students in the United States. These kinds of educational exchanges reflect the model of partnership that the United States is pursuing based on shared values, delivering concrete benefits for our people, and enhancing our partnership.
We support Indonesia’s security, including its defense, and we believe strongly that Indonesia has a right to enhance its security. We obviously work closely with Indonesia on a range of issues, particularly on counter-terrorism cooperation. And we commend the Indonesian Government for the law enforcement-led approach to counter-terrorism and believe that Indonesia has made great strides in protecting its citizens and citizens more generally who visit and travel for business or recreation to Indonesia, which is such a wonderful country to be able to see.
Regarding the very important question on the situation in Papua, we support the territorial integrity and that includes Papua and West Papua provinces. We believe strongly that dialogue between Papuan representatives in the Indonesian Government would help address concerns that the Papuans have and assist in resolving conflict peacefully, improving governance and development. We think there should be inclusive consultation with the Papuan people and implementation of the special autonomy law for Papua. And of course, we deplore violence of any sort in Papua, and when it does occur there should be full and transparent investigations under the rule of law and make sure that lessons are learned from that.
So we think that there’s been an enormous amount of good work done by the Indonesian Government, and we’re going to continue to work with them and raise issues as that becomes necessary.
On regional issues, I expressed to the Minister our gratitude to Indonesia for supporting stronger American engagement in the Asia Pacific. It was during Indonesia’s chairmanship of ASEAN that President Obama became the first American president to attend the East Asia Summit. I’m confident that as Indonesia looks ahead to becoming the host of APEC next year, it will bring the same expertise and commitment to consensus building and results as the chair of that important group as well.
I thank the Minister for the efforts that Indonesia has undertaken following this year’s ASEAN Regional Forum. I expressed our appreciation for Indonesia’s and the Minister’s personal efforts to advance ASEAN unity. We believe that the U.S.-ASEAN relationship is one of our most important and we want to support ASEAN unity in this region. The recent U.S.-ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting in Cambodia and the largest ever U.S.-ASEAN Business Forum, which I hosted in July in Cambodia, are evidence of that. As we intensify our engagement with ASEAN, we look forward to working with our dialogue partners to strengthen the ASEAN Secretariat.
We discussed developments in the South China Sea, and I commended, again, the Minister for his personal leadership under the President’s guidance. The United States has a national interest, as every country does, in the maintenance of peace and stability, respect for international law, freedom on navigation, unimpeded lawful commerce in the South China Sea. As I have said many times, the United States does not take a position on competing territorial claim over land features, but we believe the nations of the region should work collaboratively together to resolve disputes without coercion, without intimidation, without threats, and certainly without the use of force.
That is why we encourage ASEAN and China to make meaningful progress towards finalizing a comprehensive code of conduct in order to establish rules of the road and clear procedures for peacefully addressing disagreements. And we endorse the recent ASEAN six-point principles on the South China Sea. We will continue to support the work that ASEAN is doing, and in particular the leadership of Indonesia, to clarify and pursue claims in accordance with international law, including the Law of the Sea Convention.
I can only echo and reinforce what the minister said, because he has led the diplomacy for the adoption of the six-point statement of principles by ASEAN on July 20th. That showed unity was very important, and the United States endorses those principles. We believe too, along with ASEAN, that it is critical for the work that has begun on the code of conduct to continue. The United States believes very strongly that no party should take any steps that would increase tensions or do anything that could be viewed as coercive or intimidating to advance their territorial claims. It’s important that there be, as the minister said, a mechanism for resolving the potential for the outbreak of conflict or miscalculation by any party. Because remember, there are many claimants. It’s not just ASEAN members claiming vis-a-vis China. There are claims within ASEAN members themselves.
So this is in everyone’s interest, and it is time for diplomacy. We have the East Asia Summit coming up in Phnom Penh in November. This should be the goal that diplomacy pursues to try to attain agreement, as the Minister is doing, on a robust code of conduct to begin to try to literally calm the waters and enable people to work together toward better outcomes.
And I will be discussing these matters in Beijing with Chinese leaders. I think we can make progress before the East Asia Summit, and it certainly is in everyone’s interest that we do so.
The world looks to Indonesia as the leading democracy in the region – as indeed the third largest democracy in the world – to promote democracy and human rights, and we will work together on behalf of those important principles. We both agree strongly that there should be no discrimination against minorities on any basis – religious or communal, sectarian, ethnic – and that we should promote freedom and tolerance for all.
In pursuit of our shared democratic values, we’re pursuing plans for our Triangular Cooperation program, which aims to strengthen democratic institutions in countries such as Burma. Once again, the United States will be sending a high-level delegation to the Bali Democracy Forum to strengthen democratic reform and civil society and to stand up for the human rights that democracies are pledged to protect.
And finally, the Foreign Minister and I exchanged views on Iran and Syria. On Iran, we believe – and we share this common position – that Iran has a right to the use of peaceful nuclear energy. But Iran must abide by its international obligations and cannot be permitted to get a nuclear weapons.
On Syria, both our countries remain committed to three priorities: putting an end to the violence, responding to humanitarian need, and helping to facilitate a political, democratic transition that will benefit the Syrian people.
So again, Minister, I thank you for these very substantive discussions. I thank you for yours and the President’s leadership on behalf of regional and global issues of great importance to us all. I look forward to seeing you in Vladivostok in a few days, and welcoming you to Washington in a few weeks.
Source: Embassy of the US in Jakarta