JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi and her US counterpart Antony Blinken discussed bilateral cooperation in the health sector during the first meeting of Strategic Dialogue in Washington DC on Tuesday, August 3.
The meeting marked a new history in an effort to strengthen bilateral relations of the two countries as Indonesia is in discussion with the US to explore long-term cooperation in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. This includes the provision of therapeutic drugs, the development of vaccines by using mRNA (messenger ribonucleic acid) technology and strengthening the global health resilience system.
“The long-term cooperation efforts are important to reduce the gap in global access to Covid-19 vaccines and medicines as well as to anticipate the potential for a pandemic to reoccur in the future,” said Retno in a statement on Wednesday, August 4.
Retno has also expressed appreciation to the US for its support during the pandemic. The US had provided 1,000 ventilators and medical equipment, more than eight million doses of Moderna vaccine through the COVAX global vaccine sharing facility.
The US through its US National Security Advisor (NSA) Jake Sullivan has also announced an additional $30 million in support for handling the pandemic comprising oxygen cylinders, medical equipment, and medicines. So far, Indonesia has received support totaling $65 million from the US since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Besides, the two ministers discussed the potential for economic cooperation in which Retno explained about the Job Creation Act that can help increase the US investment in Indonesia.
Retno also touched on the importance of continuing the discussion on the Limited Trade Agreement between Indonesia and the US. A strong strategic partnership between the two nations would be an asset for the US in increasing its engagement with Asia in general and Southeast Asia in specific as the US is also one of the important partners in implementing the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific region.
Retno hoped that the US will support Indonesia’s presidency at the G-20 next year to create an inclusive, green, and sustainable world economic recovery.
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