UK Ambassadors brief on developments in Japan and Indonesia
On 25 September, BGIPU hosted a virtual Asia-Pacific briefing session, with the Her Majesty’s Ambassadors to Japan, HE Paul Madden, and Indonesia, HE Owen Jenkins. The event was chaired by Shadow Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Minister and Executive Committee member, Wayne David MP, and was well-attended by members from a variety of committees and APPGs.
Members welcomed the opportunity to hear about political, economic, and social developments in these two major Asia-Pacific powers. With Japan having recently experienced a change of leadership, working towards the rescheduled Olympic Games in 2021 and completing negotiations on a landmark free trade agreement with the UK, Ambassador Madden had plenty of material to cover. Likewise, key discussion points for Ambassador Jenkins on Indonesia were President Jakowi’s re-election in 2019, the domestic economic focus on infrastructure and GDP growth, as well as the movement of the capital of the country from Jakarta to Kalimantan.
Both Ambassadors provided a broader overview of developments in the Asia-Pacific region, including regarding the overall impact of COVID-19 successes and challenges in both countries in the fight against the pandemic. Both Ambassadors also highlighted bilateral priorities and emphasized areas for greater collaboration with the UK. Following these detailed briefings, Members and Peers asked questions about the future for UK trade relations, the UK’s cooperation under ASEAN auspices and broader regional relations, including the role of China.