The Buzz

Tea and nickel on the agenda as Biden hosts Indonesian president

President Joe Biden will host Indonesian President Joko Widodo at the White House today [Macau time], one day before the U.S. leader leaves for San Francisco to attend a summit of Asian leaders.

The two presidents will share an afternoon tea and meet with top advisers, according to senior administration officials who insisted on anonymity to preview the schedule.

They will also talk about ways to expand the trade of critical minerals like nickel, which can be used to produce electric vehicle batteries. Indonesia is the world’s largest producer of nickel.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said they “will explore opportunities to enhance cooperation on the clean energy transition, advance economic prosperity, bolster regional peace and stability, and reinforce our people-to-people ties.”

Biden’s meeting with Widodo comes shortly before he sits down with Chinese President Xi Jinping during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.

Indonesia is the world’s third-largest democracy — after India and the United States — and a key player in Southeast Asia. The U.S. has been working to strengthen relationships in the region in hopes of deterring China’s influence, and Vice President Kamala Harris attended a summit there in September.

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