Blinken is planning a trip to Indonesia and Malaysia

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Next week, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will go to Indonesia and Malaysia as part of the Joe Biden administration’s increased engagement in Southeast Asia, which the administration regards as critical to countering China’s expanding influence. Mr Blinken will visit Jakarta from December 13 to 14, according to Indonesia’s director-general for American and European affairs, I Gede Ngurah Swajaya. Mr Blinken will be the third and most senior US official to visit the area in the last two months.
Mr Blinken is also slated to visit Malaysia from December 14 to 15, according to two Southeast Asian diplomatic sources who requested anonymity. Mr Blinken is scheduled to give a lecture on health, investment, and infrastructure in the Indo-Pacific on his Indonesia leg, according to Mr Ngurah. On December 9, Mr Blinken will participate remotely at the Bali Democracy Forum. It was unclear whether Mr Blinken would go to other nations in the area. A representative for the US Embassy in Jakarta declined to comment.
Mr Blinken said in September that Washington would soon issue a new Indo-Pacific strategy based on “our common vision for a free, open, interconnected, resilient, and safe region” at a meeting with Southeast Asian foreign ministers on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly.
Mr Daniel Kritenbrink, the US’s senior East Asian diplomat, said last week in Thailand that Washington was not asking its friends to choose between it and China, but rather to promote a common vision of a rules-based world “where powerful countries do not intimidate the weak.” Gina Raimondo, the Secretary of Commerce, visited the region in mid-November to promote economic relations.

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