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Indonesia calls on China to help ease Middle East tensions

Indonesia calls on China to help ease Middle East tensions


(Bloomberg) — Indonesia urged China to use its influence to prevent an escalation of tensions in the Middle East, during a visit by Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who visited the archipelago while that Beijing aims to deepen its diplomatic relations with Jakarta.

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In a meeting with Wang on Thursday, Indonesian President Joko Widodo, also known as Jokowi, stressed the importance of maintaining stability in the Middle East, according to Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi. Indonesia is the most populous Muslim nation in the world.

We share the same view on the importance of all parties exercising restraint and the importance of de-escalation, Marsudi said in a press briefing after the meeting. I am sure that the People's Republic of China will use its influence to prevent escalation.

Wang is visiting Indonesia as part of a three-country tour across Southeast Asia and the Pacific that began Thursday. In a joint briefing, Wang and Marsudi said the Southeast Asian nation would cooperate with China in the areas of energy transition, food security and infrastructure.

As competition between the United States and China intensifies in Southeast Asia, Indonesia has balanced its close economic and trade relations with Beijing while rebuilding its security ties with Washington.

During his meeting with Wang, Jokowi said mutually beneficial economic activity between Indonesia and China was vital, while calling for greater access to the Chinese market for his country's exports. For his part, Wang said China is ready to work with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations amid growing tensions in the South China Sea.

Wang's visit comes weeks after President-elect Prabowo Subiantos met with Xi Jinping in China, during which they agreed to strengthen comprehensive strategic cooperation.

The Chinese foreign minister will meet Prabowo during his visit to Indonesia, Marsudi said, the last meeting between Indonesia's next leader and senior Chinese government officials.

–With help from Eddie Spence, Ben Westcott and Siuming Ho.

(Updates after meeting with President Widodo.)

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