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Press Conference at Vice President Boediono's Office


Press Conference
William J. Burns
Under Secretary for Political Affairs 
Jakarta, Indonesia
December 11, 2009

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Under Secretary Burns: It’s a pleasure to have the chance to meet with you very briefly and maybe to take a couple of questions. Let me say at the outset only that I’m delighted to be here in Jakarta and that I was also very please yesterday to have the chance to represent the United States as an observer at the Bali Democracy Forum, which I think is an extremely important new forum, in which Indonesia plays a very important leadership role, not only in this region but around the world. This is a moment I think of real promise in the relationship between the United States and Indonesia. President Obama looks forward very much to his visit next year to Indonesia, looks forward very much to the chance to bring his family here and I think there are enormous opportunities for both Indonesia and America, as we look ahead to the next few years, whether it’s expanding our economic cooperation, expanding cooperation in education, health and working together on a wide range of regional and global issues, whether it’s climate, or preventing the spread of nuclear weapons or promoting peace and solving regional conflicts, issues that matter very much to both of us, and we approach our relationship in a genuine spirit of partnership which means a two-way street in which we listen to the views and opinion of our Indonesian partners and do what we can to contribute to goals which as I said, serve both of our interests. I especially enjoyed the opportunity to meet the Vice President. We talked about a wide range of bilateral issues, about Indonesia’s I think very encouraging economic future, and the ways in which we can expand trade and investment between us and in general the ways in which we can deepen our bilateral cooperation. So, it truly is a pleasure to be here, and I’d be glad to respond to one or two questions before I have to run off to the next meeting. The Ambassador keeps me very busy.

(TVRI) Question: [Inaudible]

Under Secretary Burns: Well, I think as the Indonesian economy has grown and as it continues to grow, I think there are increasing opportunities for foreign investment, particularly for American investment here. Many American companies are quite interested in the potential of the Indonesian economy. Already you see some in the area of trade and commerce, the sale of Boeing aircraft, and other kids of increases in trade, but I think there’s great potential in the future to expand investment, particularly as Indonesia improves its investment climate, strengthens the rule of law, the kind of things that any investors, whether they are American or any kind of foreign investors pay close attention to. So I think it is an area of our relationship that can expand over the next few years and so when we talk about comprehensive partnership between our two countries we want that to be more than just nice rhetoric. We want it to be about concrete achievements in the areas of the economy and education and in many other areas as I mentioned before.

(ANTV) Question: Why the emphasis on… [inaudible]

Under Secretary Burns: I think corruption is a challenge that is not unique to Indonesia. I mean we face it in the United States. We certainly support the efforts of the government to fight corruption. It is very much in its self-interest for Indonesia to do that because corruption often functions as a kind of tax, especially on small businesses and it makes it harder to grow and modernize the economy. So it is very important to overcome those challenges and we will continue to be very supportive of efforts to do that.

(ANTV) Question: [inaudible]

Under Secretary Burns: As I said, we think it is in the self-interest of Indonesia to fight against corruption and to overcome that kind of problem. That opens up progress in that area, opens up more possibilities for economic growth for Indonesia, and it attracts more kinds of foreign investments. So I think the benefits of fighting corruption are obvious and they are most important for Indonesians themselves. Thank you very much for the afternoon.



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