The discussion of the energy sector in a more macro-scope is expected to improve the Indonesian economy."
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla and US Vice President Michael Richard Pence discussed energy cooperation at the Vice Presidential Office in Jakarta on Thursday.

"The discussion of the energy sector in a more macro-scope is expected to improve the Indonesian economy," Energy and Mineral Resources (ESDM) Minister Ignatius Jonan said in a press statement.

Jonan, who accompanied Vice President Kalla in the bilateral meeting added that his side will optimize the role of US Power Working Group for Indonesia, which was formed on September 25, 2015.

"I will continue to work together through this established business group, especially as we also have a target of electrification ratio up to 99 percent in 2019 and 100 percent in 2020," he said.

US Power Working Group for Indonesia consists of 42 companies and 11 agencies of the US Government.

The business group was formed to support the 35,000 MW program launched by the government.

In addition to the electricity, continued Jonan, the United States also wants to explore cooperation in the field of renewable energy (EBT).

"both countries have established cooperation in the EBT subsector through the utilization of appropriate technology to convert waste into electrical energy. Hopefully it will be intertwined with other cooperation in the same EBT sector," he said.

Meanwhile, Pence said his visit this time would enhance the strategic partnership between the two countries.

"We want to prioritize Indonesia as a business partner in the energy sector," he said as quoted in the same press statement.

Earlier, Kall asaid he had discussed with his counterpart various areas of strategic cooperation, particularly in the economic and political fields.

"Our talks with Mike Pence were centered around two issues. One of them is Indonesias economic relations with the US. Of course, we should first understand what they refer to as American first. They are thinking of how to enhance trade and investment relations with other countries, including Indonesia," Kalla noted at the Vice Presidential Palace.

Kalla said the Indonesian government is keen to witness the bilateral economic cooperation scheme that the US will develop through a comprehensive strategic partnership. Hence, Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi and Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita will depart for the US in May 2017.

"They (the US) want to develop relations on a bilateral basis rather than a multilateral basis, such as the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) trade deal. Indonesia is not part of the TPP. Hence, we will soon negotiate on forging a strategic partnership with the US, particularly in the economic field," he stated.

The US, which initiated the TPP in 2013, has decided to drop its membership in February 2017 shortly after President Donald Trump came to power.

Regarding the focus of political cooperation, Kalla said the US, as the worlds largest democratic country, and Indonesia, as the worlds third-largest democratic nation, are seeking stable global security and peace.

"Of course, we think together of ways (to maintain) peace in many countries. Indonesia is ready to play its role (in this respect) because the country, as an ASEAN member state, does not have a say and is not part of a bloc with other countries," he explained.

Indonesia is also ready to enhance cooperation with the US in the field of counterterrorism by exchanging intelligence information and holding joint security exercises, he stated.

Pence arrived here on Wednesday night for a two-day visit. After holding bilateral talks with Kalla on Thursday, Pence visited the Istiqlal Mosque and held a dialog with figures of different faiths.

The US Vice President Pence arrived at Halim Perdana Kusuma Airport, Jakarta, Wednesday night (April 19). He was picked by ESDM Minister Ignatius Jonan and Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, who was assigned by President Joko Widodo (Jokowi).

Editor: Priyambodo RH
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