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US President Biden to meet with Indonesian President Widodo

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US President Biden to meet with Indonesian President Widodo

US Indonesia

US President Joe Biden will meet with Indonesian counterpart Joko Widodo at the White House today.

The meeting precedes Biden’s travel to San Francisco for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit later this week, where the US is expected to upgrade diplomatic ties to the US-ASEAN Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

The recent Israel-Gaza conflict complicates what was expected to be a routine state visit between key partners, mainly focused on shared interests such as critical minerals and Chinese claims in the South China Sea. Indonesia, with its substantial Muslim population of about 229 million, has historically aligned itself with the Palestinian cause, sparking many recent protests in the country over the US’s support for Israel.

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Photo: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

While Widodo might feel compelled to present a softer stance on the Israel-Gaza conflict to avoid jeopardizing warm ties with Washington, any perceived deviation from the pro-Palestinian sentiment at home could lead to backlash, affecting his party’s electoral prospects, ahead of upcoming presidential elections next year. To avoid potential backlash for both leaders, expect the meeting to avoid public discussions on the Israel-Hamas conflict, focusing instead on shared interests in the Indo-Pacific region and along with deliberations on a bilateral or multilateral trade agreement regarding critical minerals.

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