Indonesia has invited the United States to invest in the development of Riau Islands’ Natuna regency, one of the archipelago's outer islands in the southern part of the disputed South China Sea, which has become the flashpoint for escalating tensions between Washington and Beijing in the region. Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi extended the offer to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during his official visit to Jakarta on Thursday.
“I encourage US businesses to invest more in Indonesia, including for projects in the outer islands of Indonesia, such as the Natuna islands,” Retno said after the meeting as reported by The Jakarta Post. As the minister called for collective contributions between nations to maintain peace, stability and prosperity, Retno said Indonesia had come to an agreement with the US about enhancing cooperation in the defense sector in the Southeast Asia region.
While maintaining its stance as a non-claimant state in the South China Sea dispute, Indonesia has continued to stand up against China's nine-dash line claims, saying that it has "no international legal basis". In his statement, Mike Pompeo lauded Indonesia's stance in protecting its sovereignty in the Natuna waters.