About the Author: William J. Burns serves as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs.
I'm happy to be back in Indonesia. Last December, I traveled to Jakarta and Bali for the Bali Democracy Forum, which thanks to Indonesian leadership, advanced a critical dialogue among Asia-Pacific governments and civil society for promoting democracy in the region. This trip has given me the opportunity to further that discussion with Indonesian government officials, NGOs, journalists and others in Jakarta. It's also given me the chance to reaffirm the strong U.S. commitment to building a comprehensive partnership with Indonesia.
Sometimes the day-to-day work of diplomacy doesn't always make headlines, but I can assure you that our governments have been consistently working hard to deepen our bilateral relations. In my discussions with Ministry of Foreign Affairs Director General for North American and European Affairs Ambassador Retno Marsudi, we reviewed some of the significant progress made over the past year, particularly in the people-to-people aspects of the three pillars of our partnership: political and security cooperation; economic and development cooperation; and socio-cultural which includes education, science, and technology. In particular, we launched a Peace Corps program and signed agreements for Science and Technology Cooperation and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, which will underpin deepened engagement. A good example of this is the collaboration of U.S. scientists and Indonesian oceanographers in deep sea exploration by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) ship, Okeanos Explorer, in Indonesia.
We have some real opportunities to advance this type of scientific and economic cooperation further based on the interesting ideas that Cabinet Secretary Dipo Alam shared with me. We'll continue to build our comprehensive partnership when Secretary Clinton and Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa co-chair a joint commission later this year.
One more thing. Even though it might not always be in the headlines, the United States-Indonesia partnership remains a priority. And I'll be back.