Sung Kim, U.S. Special Envoy for North Korea, poses ahead of a trilateral meeting between Japan, U.S., and South Korea, to discuss North Korea, in Tokyo, Japan, September 14, 2021. David Mareuil/Pool via REUTERS
JAKARTA, Sept 29 (Reuters) – A defence pact between Australia, the United States and Britain is no threat to Indo-Pacific stability and is not aimed at any one country, a U.S. envoy said on Wednesday, amid concern in a region where China's influence is on the rise.
Indonesia is worried that the pact, known as AUKUS, under which Australia will obtain nuclear submarine technology from the United States, would worsen an "arms race and power projection" in the region.
Malaysia's concerns are similar, while neighbour the Philippines, a U.S. treaty ally, is behind it.
"This will reinforce our ongoing cooperation with key countries like Indonesia to make sure that we have a free and open Indo-Pacific that respects the rule of law," U.S. ambassador to Indonesia, Sung Kim, told a virtual forum.
Kim said he is not worried about an arms race or nuclear proliferation, calling it a "forward looking, positive" initiative that would work in Indonesia's favour.
AUKUS is largely seen as a response by Western allies to avert a Chinese hegemony in Southeast Asia and beyond, particularly the South China Sea, a conduit for a third of ship-borne trade, in which Beijing claims historical sovereignty.
Indonesia earlier this month increased patrols in response to American and Chinese vessels.
"We are not asking any countries, including Indonesia, to make choices between U.S. and any other country," Kim said of AUKUS, adding the three allies have strong respect for the centrality of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) bloc.
Kim also praised Indonesia's climate change efforts, particularly reducing greenhouse gas emission and deforestation.
Asked about its restive easternmost region of Papua, Kim said Washington did not support separatism anywhere, but did have concerns over fundamental freedoms in the militarised region and urged talks between the government and local communities.
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Subscribe for our daily curated newsletter to receive the latest exclusive Reuters coverage delivered to your inbox.
As Australian beef exports to China wither amid diplomatic tensions, demand there for U.S. grain-fed beef has soared, fuelled by the appetites of a growing Chinese middle class.
Reuters, the news and media division of Thomson Reuters, is the world’s largest multimedia news provider, reaching billions of people worldwide every day. Reuters provides business, financial, national and international news to professionals via desktop terminals, the world's media organizations, industry events and directly to consumers.
Build the strongest argument relying on authoritative content, attorney-editor expertise, and industry defining technology.
The most comprehensive solution to manage all your complex and ever-expanding tax and compliance needs.
The industry leader for online information for tax, accounting and finance professionals.
Information, analytics and exclusive news on financial markets – delivered in an intuitive desktop and mobile interface.
Access to real-time, reference, and non-real time data in the cloud to power your enterprise.
Screen for heightened risk individual and entities globally to help uncover hidden risks in business relationships and human networks.
All quotes delayed a minimum of 15 minutes. See here for a complete list of exchanges and delays.
© 2021 Reuters. All rights reserved