PM commits to strengthen Indonesian ties

The prime minister has reaffirmed Australia’s commitment to strengthening its relationship with Indonesia amid growing uncertainty in the region.

As Anthony Albanese finished up his first full day in Indonesia as part of bilateral talks, he pledged to work more closely with the Asian nation as global markets rebounded from economic downturns.

“I want to work with Indonesia to effectively tackle the many challenges we face in navigating the post-COVID global economic recovery,” he told a business dinner in Jakarta, after talks with President Joko Widodo.


“We are linked by choice, because we have both made a conscious decision to strengthen that relationship.”

It comes as the prime minister pledged to attend the G20 summit in November in Bali, despite the presence of Russian President Vladimir Putin in the wake of his country’s invasion of Ukraine.

Mr Albanese said he was committed to making the summit a success, with Indonesia’s hosting of the event critical for the region.

“I’m focused on sitting with President Widodo, not sitting with President Putin,” he told reporters in Jakarta.

“The work of the G20 is critical at this time of global economic uncertainty, and it will be working with Indonesia that we most effectively tackle the many challenges we face.”

Earlier in the day, he met with President Widodo at the Bogor Palace in Jakarta, with the two also planting a tree together and cycling around the palace grounds.

The leaders discussed trade, climate and a strategic partnership between the two countries, with Mr Albanese also pledging to rebuild Indonesian language education in Australia.

He said working more closely with Indonesia was essential amid growing uncertainty in the region, and stressed the importance of a comprehensive economic partnership agreement between the two countries.

The prime minister said it was critical both countries work together to realise the potential of the agreement.

“What I would see as a success is that investment growing, that relationship growing,” he said.

“We spoke with ministers today, as well as with President Widodo, about the potential that there is across a range of areas.”

Economic ministers from the two countries are set to meet regularly to carry out work on the comprehensive economic partnership agreement.

The prime minister also affirmed Australia’s commitment to the AUKUS security pact, despite Indonesia initially raising some concerns about the alliance last year.

The Indonesia president said he was pleased his country was the first Mr Albanese visited for bilateral talks since he became prime minister.

“It shows the good relations between the two nations. Mr Albanese is not a new person to me, we met in 2020,” he said.

The two leaders also discussed education and health, food security, as well as the situation in Ukraine and partnerships on developments in the Indo-Pacific.

“Strategic competition in the region must be well managed to avoid open conflict,” Mr Widodo said.

“The culture of peace and strategic trust needs to be strengthened continuously.”

The prime minister also emphasised strengthening relationships with Indonesia as well as the broader southeast Asian region.

“ASEAN and ASEAN-led institutions are at the absolute centre of our vision for the Indo-Pacific,” Mr Albanese said.

“This also means supporting Indonesia’s leadership in the region.”

© AAP 2022