The Prime Minister of Australia Anthony Albanese returned on June 6, 2022 in Jakarta, Indonesia, laying a wreath at the grave of Indonesia’s national hero. The Albanians made their first visit to Indonesia, pledging to strengthen ties at a two-day diplomatic and trade meeting.
Ed Ray | Getty Images
Long before the new Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese made his first bilateral visit to Jakarta, Indonesia’s confidence in Australia had already slipped.
According to the first survey by the Lowe’s Institute in Indonesia in a decade, Indonesians’ confidence in Australia dropped by 20 points in 10 years – from 75% in 2011 to 55% last year.
According to a survey of 3,000 Indonesians conducted by an Australian think tank late last year, Indonesians have also increased distrust of major powers, including the United States and China.
“The majority of Indonesians believe the United States and Australia should act responsibly, but that number has dropped dramatically since 2011,” the survey showed.
Indonesia’s distrust of Australia has deepened since Canberra signed the AUKUS trilateral nuclear-submarine and security agreement with the United States and Britain last year, former Indonesian foreign minister Marty Natalegawa told CNBC last week.
Australia’s new leaders have now cut their diplomatic work for them, he added.
“It will be important for Indonesia to understand the intentions – the objectives of the new Australian government. [Asia-Pacific] Region, “the minister said in an exclusive interview on” Street Science Asia “.
The AUKUS deal has raised some eyebrows in Asia-Pacific – and both Indonesia and Malaysia have expressed concern over the announcement. Indonesia has said it does not want to see a “continuous arms race and power launch” in the region and has urged Australia to meet its nuclear non-proliferation obligations.
Questions remain as to whether Australia and Indonesia, led by the Albanians, can deepen their ties.
Indonesia views AUKUS as a threat, he said Supriyatma became a Visiting Fellow at the ISEAS-Yusuf Ishaq Institute in Singapore.
Jakarta has long viewed Canberra as bilateral and unreliable – and things got worse with the AUKUS deal and joining the quad. It could provoke China and destabilize the region, Supritma said.
History did not help.
“Indonesia’s military elite has not forgotten Australia’s ‘intervention’ in East Timor in 1999,” he said, referring to Indonesia’s invasion of East Timor following the election for independence.
“The Indonesian military has not been able to dispel the notion that the Indonesian military has intervened in Indonesian territory,” he said.
To the Indonesians, it didn’t matter that Australia acted under US direction
Following the announcement of AUKUS, Political observers, including former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, have expressed concern that Australia-Indonesia relations have deteriorated as the security pact focuses more on managing Canberra’s strained relations with Beijing.
Australia chose to make Indonesia its first ministerial one-on-one pitstop after the election, but many in Indonesia do not think Australia deserves the same attention, says Tim Lindsay and Tim Mann of the Center for Indonesian Law, Islam and Society. Melbourne said in an interview.
“They see [Australia] As a low-level trading and investment partner, it is more focused on the United States and the United Kingdom than on Southeast Asia, ”he said.
Australia’s new government has made every effort to restore ties.
These include strengthening its commitment to establish a र 140 million ($ 200 million Australian) climate and infrastructure partnership with Indonesia, pledging an additional 7 327 million overseas development in Southeast Asia, and appointing a dedicated high-level rotating regional ambassador.
“We want to strengthen our relationship not only with Indonesia but also with Southeast Asia. We see ASEAN being the focal point of the region, “Albanian said during a visit last week.
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese speaking to the media on June 5, 2022. Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese was in Indonesia on Monday for his first bilateral visit since being elected last month to meet with President Joko Widodo and to strengthen ties between the two neighbors. .
Matt Gelonek | Getty Images News | Getty Images
To keep relations between the two countries warm, Lindsay and Mann advocated for more assistance to Indonesia, making it easier for Indonesians to enter Australia, and more funding for Indonesian studies in Australia.
“Australians can get a visa on arrival in Indonesia, but Indonesians who want to go to Australia on a tourist visa will also have to face an expensive, complicated and cumbersome application process,” he said.
This is where the Indonesia-Australia CEPA agreement could come into play, said Krishna Gupta and Donnie Passaribu, analysts at the Crawford School of Public Policy at the Australian National University.
The The Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA) was signed three years ago.
Gupta and Pasaribu said the aim was to “liberalize trade between the two countries” rather than to reduce tariffs on non-tax measures, trade in services and investment. However, the non-tariff measures had many caveats and exceptions.
“At least on the Indonesian side, the economic significance of the IA-CEPA remains to be seen. Not only are there many precautions, but implementing the IA-CEPA requires several changes in Indonesian rules at the ministerial and local levels, which has been very challenging in the past,” two analysts said.
But there are other benefits, such as people-to-people exchanges that can open up trade relations between Australia and Indonesia.
“While it may be a little difficult to work in the goods trade, there may be a way to trade in services. Additionally, Australia can help improve the movement of people through worker holiday visas,” he said.
Increasing the number of Indonesian foreign students, or more student exchanges at all school and education levels, could also boost trade between the two nations, they say.
But don’t expect Indonesia’s trade with Australia to come closer to China’s trade with Australia, he said.
Bilateral trade between China and Australia was २५ 250 billion (१७ 176 billion) in 2020.
By comparison, trade between Indonesia and Australia was only A $ 17 billion in the same period, with sales of livestock and beef and coal.
However, it was easier to trade with China as the world’s so-called factory and supply chain hub, ANU economists point out.
In fact, Indonesia and Australia are not complementary trading partners but rivals, he pointed out.
Both countries are commodity exporters while China is the major buyer of raw materials in the region.
“Unfortunately Indonesia cannot improve its production advantage at least compared to Vietnam and Thailand, let alone with China,” ANU analysts said.
Tim Harcourt, chief economist at the Institute for Public Policy and Governance at the Sydney Institute of Technology, agreed that Australia was “still under-represented as an economic partner”.
But he sees progress.
In addition to services and human trafficking, Harcourt said the Australian government is focusing on more non-traditional trade cooperation with Indonesia in science, gaming and software.
This time things are different, Harcourt added.
“The fact that the Albanians carried a heavy delegation of ministers and business leaders was more than a lip service,” the economist said.
“I think the fact that he brought in the Minister of Science and Industry and the Minister of Trade, the Labor government wants to build research and development with Indonesian institutions.”