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Presidents Joe Biden and Joko Widodo Affirm New U.S.-Indonesia Defense Cooperation Accord

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The U.S. and Indonesia announced a new defense cooperation agreement on Monday as Washington looks to counter Chinese influence across the Indo-Pacific with efforts to bolster defense and trade agreements.

The deal, struck after a White House meeting between President Joe Biden and Indonesian President Joko Widodo, is part of a broader agreement that will see the nations work together on peacekeeping efforts and counterterrorism programs. The announcement was made as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in San Francisco has gotten underway.

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The two nations will also hold a pair of regular meetings between senior defense officials that will include engagement with non-military stakeholders, the White House said in a statement.

The cooperation agreement is the latest in a series of pacts between the U.S. and Asian nations in recent months as the Biden administration pursues alliances to curb China’s influence in the region. In August, the U.S. struck a defense cooperation agreement with Papua New Guinea, and in September the president traveled to Vietnam to announce a new “comprehensive strategic partnership” deepening business ties.

Biden hosted Widodo in Washington before traveling to San Francisco on Tuesday, where he is expected to meet with world leaders including Chinese President Xi Jinping and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador on the sidelines of the summit.

Read More: Presidents Xi Jinping and Joe Biden Seek to Turn Back the Clock at San Francisco Summit

The two leaders also discussed efforts to move forward on a critical minerals accord that could further open Indonesia’s nickel market to U.S. companies. The metal is a key component of high-performance batteries such as those powering electric vehicles.

The leaders discussed “the opportunity to create high-standard clean energy supply-chain jobs in both countries through a robust partnership between the United States and Indonesia that leads to mutually beneficial development of domestic resources in accordance with fair market-based rules,” the White House said in a statement.

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