Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Australian leader’s visit reaffirms deepening ties with Indonesia

JAKARTA, Indonesia ( Associated Press) – Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Monday sought to move beyond regional issues that have been an important part of his foreign visits by promoting the importance of building strong economic ties with neighboring Indonesia.

The visit was only Albanese’s second foreign trip since its inauguration. Two weeks ago and underscores the importance Australia places on its sometimes poor relationship with its nearest major neighbor, Indonesia.

Albanese spoke about the importance of expanding trade and investment ties between the two countries, highlighting their ambition to make better use of the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement. They also discussed Australia’s proposed $200 million climate and infrastructure fund with Indonesia.

After the meeting with Widodo, Albany told a joint news conference that Indonesia is on track to become one of the world’s five largest economies.

“Realizing our investment relationship is a priority for my government,” Albanese said, “and that is why we plan to work with Indonesia to realize the potential of the Indonesia Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement. “

He also offered Australian assistance to help design and build Indonesia’s capital – which is being relocated from Jakarta to the island of Borneo – and four years to support bilateral and regional development assistance programs in Southeast Asia. pledged to provide an additional $470 million within ,

But he did not raise the thorny issue that his Indonesian counterpart President Joko Widodo expressed concern after in a virtual meeting with leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations last October after Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States announced a tripartite security agreement. Had it., dubbed AUKUS, under which Australia will acquire nuclear-powered submarines. Widodo said the deal could spark an arms race.

Some ASEAN countries fear the deal could escalate tensions in hot spots such as the South China Sea. US nuclear submarine deals with Australia and Britain have also angered China, which claims most of the disputed South China Sea, and warned that the treaty would threaten regional stability.

Quad group countries Australia, Japan, the US and India said in March that they opposed any unilateral use of force to change the status quo on their territory, such as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Renewed concern over China’s assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific region.

Asked whether AUKUS would be discussed during his visit to Albanians, Santo Darmosumarto, director of East Asia and Pacific Affairs for Indonesia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said the country was focused on different topics compared to the topics raised earlier by Australia. aims to diversify its relationship with

Focusing first on defense and security, Darmosumarto said in a briefing ahead of the visit that his government recognizes the limits of its partnership with Australia, including economic cooperation and people-to-people ties, which are “both countries”. seem to dominate the collaboration between

“IA-CEPA, which came into force in 2020, was not implemented effectively due to the COVID-19 pandemic in trade between countries, despite a nearly 70% increase last year,” Darmosumarto said.

Albanese arrived in Jakarta on Sunday and is accompanied by Foreign Minister Penny Wong, Trade Minister Don Farrell, Industry Minister Ed Husik and several business leaders on a three-day visit.

Indonesia is the chair of the Group of 20 largest economies this year and ASEAN next year. Albanese said he would attend the G20 summit in Bali in November. People questioned whether he would do so after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that he would be in attendance.

“I did this because the work of the G20 is important in this time of global economic uncertainty,” Albanese said. “I will work closely with President Widodo to help deliver a successful summit.”

During the visit, Albanians are due to meet ASEAN Secretary General Lim Jock Hoi on Monday to discuss Australia’s commitment to Southeast Asia and ASEAN centrality. Before returning to Canberra on Tuesday, the Albanians plan to visit Makassar, the capital of Indonesia’s South Sulawesi province.

Although Indonesia, a vast archipelago nation of 270 million people, is often presented as one of Australia’s most important neighbors and strategic allies, this relationship has had many ups and downs. Recent disagreements on key issues include allegations of wiretapping by the Australian Signals Directorate to monitor private phone calls of the then Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, his wife and other senior officials, Indonesia’s use of the death penalty on Australian drug smugglers, and people-trafficking. cases are included. ,

Nation World News Desk
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