Secretary Antony J. Blinken and Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi at Memorandum of Understanding Signing CeremonyMINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS JAKARTA, INDONESIA DECEMBER 14, 2021
Let me just speak very briefly to what we just did, the agreements that we just signed. I think they illustrate the work that we’re doing together, and it was really an honor to be able to do that. We are taking steps, we’re deepening and strengthening the cooperation between our countries in key areas – areas that are really going to have an impact on the lives of our citizens.
So, as the minister said, we are deepening our cooperation on maritime issues, including maritime security, resource management, fisheries conservation, safety of navigation, on economic activity, science and technology. In this region where so much happens by sea, particularly so much commerce happens by sea, and at a critical moment when the climate crisis threatens our oceans, our waterways, our coasts, marine life, cooperation on maritime issues is particularly vital and I would argue now more than ever. And that’s exactly what we’re doing.
Second, as was noted, we updated the bilateral agreement that our countries signed back in 2009 and re-established the Peace Corps program after it was closed for more than 40 years. Since 2009, American volunteers have worked with Indonesian programs across the country teaching English, training teachers, living with families, learning local languages. It’s a wonderful program that represents the friendship between our countries and, in many ways, the best of our countries.
And third, as the minister said, we are strengthening through the last agreement we signed our collaboration in education. We have thousands of (inaudible), tens of thousands of Indonesians having participated already in educational and leadership exchanges between our countries over the years. This is a powerful source of strong people-to-people ties, and what’s so important about it is those are connections that will last for years, generations, and that really is the foundation of everything we’re doing.
So I would just say in closing that I am grateful to Indonesia for this partnership, and it’s just going to grow stronger thanks to the agreements we signed today, but also thanks to the work that we’re doing here.