Blinken competes with top Russian official in Indonesia

Dec 13, 2021, 2:51 AM | Updated: 7:58 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Fresh from delivering a stern new warning to Russia over Ukraine, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Indonesia on Monday to find a top aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin already in Jakarta for security talks.

Just a day after joining his Group of Seven foreign minister colleagues in issuing the blunt demand for Russia to step back from a military escalation near the Ukrainian border, Blinken began a 48-hour visit to Indonesia with his plane parking in the shadow of that of Putin’s national security adviser Nikolay Patrushev. Patrushev is considered the third most senior official in Russia’s government.

Shortly before Blinken landed, the Russian embassy in Jakarta announced Patrushev’s visit, saying he would be in the Indonesian capital for the same two days as the top American diplomat. The timing means that Patrushev’s meetings will coincide with a major speech Blinken plans to give Tuesday on the Biden administration’s Indo-Pacific strategy.

There was no indication that the two men might meet in Jakarta. Nor was there any indication that either would acknowledge the other’s presence in Indonesia, which is the headquarters of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and a key regional security player.

Indonesia’s foreign ministry downplayed the dueling visits.

“The U.S. and Russia are two of Indonesia’s good partners. Indonesia will continue to develop strategic trust with all countries, all Indonesia’s partners,” Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said. “This strategic trust is very important as the foundation for building mutually beneficial and respectful cooperation. And Indonesia has a very high commitment to contribute to creating a peaceful, stable and prosperous world.”

Blinken met Monday afternoon with Indonesian President Joko Widodo before a full slate of events on Tuesday, including the speech. The Russian embassy said Patrushev’s main interlocutor in Indonesia would be Law and Security Affairs Minister Mohammad Mahfud.

Blinken traveled to Jakarta from a Group of Seven foreign ministers meeting in Liverpool, England, at which he and his counterparts told Russia on Sunday to “de-escalate” its military buildup near the Ukrainian border.

The G-7 called on Russia to “de-escalate, pursue diplomatic channels, and abide by its international commitments on transparency of military activities,” and praised Ukraine’s “restraint.”

The ministers warned on a joint statement that any “use of force to change borders is strictly prohibited under international law. Russia should be in no doubt that further military aggression against Ukraine would have massive consequences and severe cost in response.”

The statement came after President Joe Biden spoke to Putin in a video call last week and said he had made clear that a Russian invasion of Ukraine would have “devastating” consequences for Russia’s economy.

Moscow denies having any plans to attack Ukraine and accuses Kyiv of its own allegedly aggressive designs.

Ahead of Blinken’s current trip, which at eight days will be his longest overseas journey since taking office, State Department officials had said they expected his focus to shift from challenges posed by Russia to those posed by China as he moved from the G7 meeting in Liverpool across the globe to Southeast Asia.

It was not immediately clear if Patrushev’s presence on Indonesia would change that. In Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, Blinken is aiming to highlight the importance of ensuring freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, on which many of China’s neighbors have accused Beijing of encroaching.

In his meeting with Widodo, Blinken “expressed support for Indonesia’s leadership in the Indo-Pacific as the world’s third-largest democracy and a strong proponent of the rules-based international order,” the State Department said.

Blinken also plans to express deep U.S. concerns about developments in Myanmar, where a military junta took power shortly after the Biden administration took office. Last week, a court in Myanmar convicted democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who was ousted in a de facto coup in February, on two charges. The proceedings were widely criticized as a further effort by the country’s military rulers to roll back the democratic gains of recent years.

As Blinken visits Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok, Patrushev will be in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. One of Blinken’s most senior aides, State Department counsellor Derek Chollet was in Cambodia last week following the U.S. imposition of an arms embargo on the country, citing deepening Chinese military influence, corruption and human rights abuses.

___

Associated Press writer Edna Tarigan contributed to this report.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Chief: Officer hit woman at abortion rally, should be fired

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The chief of police in Rhode Island’s capital has recommended that a city officer charged with assaulting a woman during an abortion-rights protest should lose his job. Patrolman Jeann Lugo’s “disturbing, egregious, assaultive and unprofessional behavior while off duty, has brought discredit to your name and has tarnished the proud reputation […]
8 hours ago
Law enforcement personnel work outside at the Orlando Museum of Art Orlando, Fla., Friday, June 24,...
Associated Press

CEO and Florida museum part ways following Basquiat raid

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — The Orlando Museum of Art has parted ways with its CEO in the days after the FBI raided the Florida museum and seized more than two dozen paintings attributed to artist Jean-Michel Basquiat that are the subjects of an investigation into possible wire fraud and conspiracy. The museum’s board of trustees […]
8 hours ago
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, right, welcomes Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at ...
Associated Press

EXPLAINER: How was Turkey’s veto of Nordic NATO bid avoided?

ISTANBUL (AP) — When the leaders of Finland, Sweden and Turkey met with NATO’s chief Tuesday, the potential for progress was hard to predict. Some remained pessimistic the meeting would lessen Turkey’s objections to the Nordic pair’s historic request to join NATO. The government in Ankara had indicated for weeks that as an existing member […]
8 hours ago
Associated Press

Fuel, transport subsidies help keep German inflation at 7.6%

BERLIN (AP) — Inflation in Germany eased slightly in June compared to the previous month, in part due to new subsidies that helped rein in the price of gasoline and public transport. Official figures released Wednesday show inflation hit 7.6% this month, down from 7.9% in May, which was the highest since the early 1970s. […]
8 hours ago
Artist Elaine Wilson works on a painting of the Supreme Court, Wednesday, June 29, 2022, in Washing...
Associated Press

Justices say vet who lost job as Texas trooper can sue state

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed a former state trooper to sue Texas over his claim that he was forced out of his job when he returned from Army service in Iraq. The justices ruled for Army veteran Le Roy Torres under a federal law that was enacted in 1994 in the […]
8 hours ago
Follow @ktar923...
Sponsored Content by Arizona Department of Health Services

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.

Sponsored Articles

...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Vaccines are safe if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

Are you pregnant? Do you have a friend or loved one who’s expecting?
...
CANVAS ANNUITY

Best retirement savings rates hit 4.30%

Maximize your retirement savings with guaranteed fixed rates up to 4.30%. Did you know there is a financial product that can give you great interest rates as you build your retirement savings and provide you with a paycheck for life once you retire? It might sound too good to be true but it is not; this product is called an annuity.
...
Day & Night Air

Tips to lower your energy bill in the Arizona heat

Does your summer electric bill make you groan? Are you looking for effective ways to reduce your bill?
Blinken competes with top Russian official in Indonesia