The United States is looking for ways to work with Indonesia on the South China Sea

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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Thursday that Washington would seek new ways to cooperate with Indonesia in the South China Sea, rejecting China’s illegal claim to the area and respecting Jakarta’s efforts to protect its territorial waters.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, Monday, Jan. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Pompeo is in Indonesia on a five-nation tour of Asia and is seeking to strengthen strategic and economic ties between Asia and the United States amid rising tensions between the United States and China. Pompeo said China claimed the archipelago as its territory and that China’s claim was illegal.

Pompeo told a news conference after meeting with the Indonesian foreign minister that he hoped to work with new ways to protect maritime security on some of the world’s busiest waterways. Military trade; Training; Ranto said Indonesia and the United States would increase defense cooperation by enhancing intelligence exchanges and regional maritime security cooperation.

Despite similar opposition to China’s assertion in the South China Sea, Indonesian authorities have expressed concern over Washington’s anti-China policies and escalating tensions between the two powers.