JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – United Kingdom (UK)’ foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, is visiting Indonesia and Brunei-Darussalam starting today to April 9, to forge closer trade and security ties with the two countries while tackling key global challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and the coup in Myanmar.
In Jakarta, Raab met President Joko Widodo and foreign minister, Retno Marsudi, to discuss the growing UK – Indonesia trade partnership now worth GBP2.7 billion (US$3.75 billion) a year. In the meeting with Marsudi, both ministers also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on counter terrorism.
On the bilateral cooperation, Marsudi explained, they agreed to strengthening partnerships in the health sector, accelerate the economic recovery by adding 10 priority sectors such as timber and agricultural commodities, and strengthening defense cooperation. The plan the MoU on the Joint Economic and Trade Committee will signed on April 19 and is expected to accelerate the realization of these priority sectors.
“I also raise Indonesian concern about the proposed new legislation in the UK which requires due diligence on our agricultural commodities, such as palm oil, cocoa and rubber. Regarding this matter, I hope the two countries can work together to overcome it, including through a joint working group in the field of agricultural commodities,” said the minister in an official statement released today.
The ministers also discussed international issues such as Myanmar, the situation in the Middle East, preparations for Britain to host COP-19, and the Indonesian presidency at the G20. Regarding Myanmar, both agreed that violence should be stopped immediately to prevent more victims and the importance of creating a conducive atmosphere for dialogue.
During the visit, Raab also met health minister, Budi Gunadi Sadikin, discussed the importance of international collaboration in pandemic preparedness. In his final meeting in Jakarta, the foreign secretary spoke to ASEAN Secretary-General, Lim Jock Hoi, as the kingdom looks to progress closer ties with the key regional bloc.
Raab will now travel to Brunei-Darussalam, for several high level meetings on Thursday to discuss trade, climate, and security issues, with the British Garrison stationed in the country. In Bandar Seri Begawan, he will have an audience with Sultan of Brunei before meeting foreign minister II, Dato Erywan, where trade will be on the agenda given Brunei’s membership of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans- Pacific Partnership, which the UK hopes to accede to.
He also will then join the second UK – ASEAN ministerial dialogue, to explore dialogue partner status for the kingdom, before returning to London. Later this year, the British’ carrier strike group led by the HMS Queen Elizabeth, will make its maiden visit to the region.
The carrier strike group’s deployment marks the start of a new era of defense cooperation. And the UK is investing in long term partnerships as a force for good in the region. He stated, the Indo – Pacific tilt is vital for the UK to grasp the economic opportunities and rise to the new challenges ahead.
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