The Jakarta Post
Upon returning home from Washington, DC, Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Minister Luhut Pandjaitan waxed poetic about his recent meeting with United States President Donald Trump, where they discussed the two countries' bilateral cooperation, including the development of a COVID-19 vaccine.
In a post uploaded to his official Instagram page on Monday, Luhut also included a friendly nod to his close professional relationship with Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and his colleague Adam Boehler, the CEO of US International Development Finance Corporation (IDFC).
“I never imagined that someday I would be in the White House for nearly six hours, or that I would even have the opportunity to be received in the Oval Office,” the minister wrote in the caption of his own photo uploaded onto Instagram.
He added that Indonesia would always remain committed to maintaining its diplomatic ties with any country, including the US, as long as they benefited the archipelago’s national interests.
Luhut then suggested that maintaining a close friendship with international leaders and their associates would pay dividends to national development, citing an example of the IDFC’s plan to invest US$2 billion in Indonesia’s upcoming sovereign wealth fund, known as the Indonesia Investment Authority.
“Over the last two years, I have been intensely communicating with Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and his associate IDFC CEO Adam Boehler,” the minister revealed.
“It was because of [our close relationship] that the IDFC signed a letter of interest to invest $2 billion in Indonesia’s sovereign wealth fund on Nov. 19.”
In addition to White House officials, the senior minister said he had met with several American investors who were keen on learning about Indonesia’s current state of affairs, particularly with regard to the highly controversial Job Creation Law.
Luhut further expressed optimism that Indonesia would always serve as a strategic partner to the US, regardless of who would resume the presidency.
“I hope [Indonesia] will continue to maintain good communications with the next US administration and remain open to any opportunities to cooperate in various sectors,” Luhut said, presumably referring to US president-elect Joe Biden and vice president-elect Kamala Harris.
The Jakarta Post previously reported that the US had offered to cooperate with Indonesia in COVID-19 vaccine production during the minister’s visit to the White House on Nov. 17.
As new COVID-19 cases and fatalities continue to soar, the government appears to be pinning its hopes on vaccine development and is seeking supplies of potential vaccines from around the world, in addition to developing its own vaccine.
In early October, Luhut also led a delegation to Yunnan, China, to finalize the purchase deal of a large bulk of potential vaccines with Chinese vaccine producers Sinovac and Cansino, as well as Sinopharm, which is partnering with Abu Dhabi-based healthcare firm G42.
In the meeting with Trump, Luhut passed on messages from President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, who thanked the outgoing president's support of collaborations between Jakarta and Washington, specifically the extension of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) facilities for Indonesia.
“On behalf of President Jokowi, I would like to express my gratitude and appreciation to President Donald Trump. Whatever the official results of the US election, friendships need to be maintained. We will always be friends," Luhut said.