Biden to host Indonesian president Nov 13

By AFP   November 7, 2023 | 05:24 pm PT
Biden to host Indonesian president Nov 13
US President Joe Biden and Indonesian President Joko Widodo hold a meeting on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Bali, Indonesia, on Nov. 14, 2022. Photo by AFP
President Joe Biden will host his Indonesian counterpart Joko Widodo at the White House on Nov. 13, a U.S. spokesperson announced Tuesday.

In their bilateral meeting, Biden will "reaffirm the U.S. commitment to deepening... (the) nearly 75-year-long partnership between the world's second- and third-largest democracies," a statement from White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.

Biden and Widodo -- who is set to leave office next year after reaching the end of a two-term limit -- plan to discuss economic issues, clean energy initiatives and ways to bolster regional peace and stability, the statement said.

They will also "coordinate on efforts to reinforce ASEAN centrality and uphold international law" Jean-Pierre said, referring to the southeast Asia bloc which does not include China.

Biden's administration has made countering China in the Indo-Pacific region a priority.

Indonesia, like many emerging and developing countries, has received massive Chinese investment and loans, particularly for infrastructure projects.

In early October, the country opened its first high-speed train line, a multi-billion dollar project supported by Beijing.

Widodo's Washington visit coincides with the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit being held Nov. 12-18 in San Francisco, where Biden is expected to hold a rare meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

During a Tuesday press briefing, White House security spokesman John Kirby said he did not know whether Israel-Hamas war would be one of the topics discussed with the Indonesian president.

The Israeli army claimed on Tuesday that Indonesia, the largest Muslim country in the world by population, had built a hospital in Gaza above a network of Hamas tunnels and close to a rocket launch pad.

Indonesia denied the claim, saying it had been built "entirely for humanitarian purposes and to serve the medical needs of the Palestinian people in Gaza."

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