Ambassador Marie T. Huhtala, Deputy Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
Testimony before the House Committee on International Relations; Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific
March 10, 2005
"Finally, we are very interested in seeing Indonesia act as a stabilizing and responsible force in the region. Indeed, the United States has always viewed Indonesia as a pillar of regional security in Southeast Asia. In the past, Indonesia played a significant leadership role in regional institutions such as ASEAN and APEC. We look forward to seeing Jakarta reassert this prominent position in international fora and institutions. Our two countries share the important strategic objective of a stable Southeast Asian region that is free of transnational threats, including terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, smuggling, and trafficking in persons. American interests are best served by a democratic, prosperous Indonesia that respects and protects the rights of its citizens, is secure within its borders and is able to defend itself against transnational threats. For that reason, we firmly support the territorial integrity of Indonesia.
Indonesia needs to be strong in order to manage successfully the many challenges of this age. Maritime security is one of the more important challenges it faces. The strategic sea lanes that pass through and along Indonesian territory carry roughly 30% of the world's sea-borne trade and are key transit routes for the U.S. naval fleet. Half the world's oil passes through the Malacca Strait. Indonesia's vast archipelago is difficult to monitor. We stand ready to assist Indonesia to address this important challenge in ways that we will decide on jointly, and we already have begun the effort to encourage the growing cooperation between Indonesia and its neighbors in this important field.
As the worlds largest Muslim-majority country, Indonesia has a key role to play in demonstrating the virtues of tolerance and mutual respect in a diverse, multi-ethnic polity. The ability of so many Muslims to thrive economically and pursue a democratic, just agenda respectful of other faiths serves as a powerful reminder of what a successful, tolerant society can look like. We will continue to provide exchange and training programs that promote interfaith dialogue. Our active and creative public diplomacy program for Indonesia is one of the most robust in the world today."
Great find, ETM!