British Foreign Secretary visiting Brunei

Aziz Idris

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is visiting Indonesia and Brunei Darussalam this week to forge closer trade and security ties with the two countries while tackling key global challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and the coup in Myanmar.

It is Raab’s fourth visit to Southeast Asia as Foreign Secretary – and first since the publication of the Integrated Review – setting out the growing importance of the Indo-Pacific. Later this year, the United Kingdom’s (UK) Carrier Strike Group led by the HMS Queen Elizabeth, will make its maiden visit to the region.

In Jakarta, the Raab met Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo and Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi to discuss the growing UK-Indonesia trade partnership now worth USD2.7 billion a year. He also met Health Minister Budi Sadikin where they discussed the importance of international collaboration in pandemic preparedness. In his final meeting in Jakarta, Raab spoke to ASEAN Secretary-General Dato Paduka Lim Jock Hoi as the UK looks to progress closer ties with the regional bloc.

Raab arrives in Brunei today for several high level meetings to discuss trade, climate, and security issues with the British Garrison stationed in the country.

Speaking ahead of the visit, Raab said, “This is my fourth visit to the region; to two key strategic partners, because the Indo-Pacific tilt is vital for the UK to grasp the economic opportunities and rise to the new challenges ahead.

“We’re deepening our trading relationships. The Carrier Strike Group’s deployment marks the start of a new era of defence cooperation. And the UK is investing in long term partnerships as a force for good in the region.”

After his vist, Raab will then join the second UK-ASEAN ministerial dialogue, to explore Dialogue Partner status for the UK, before returning to the UK.