New opportunity to boost Indonesia-Australia economic ties - The Jakarta Post

Between The Lines
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Few international problems in the post world war. Two era have proved difficult for our nation as development of friendly policy towards indonesia. Just think about it. Jakarta's annexation of west papua in nine hundred sixty to the attempted coup d'etat and successful counter-coup by the indonesian army that was nineteen sixty five the invasion of as. Taymor seventy five. The dili massacre ninety. One the east team or mission in ninety nine. And who can forget the controversies over terror. Attacks live cadillacs bullpens successive wives of boatpeople this spying revelations and drug trade and of course those executions so has president jarkko daito or jacuzzi or jacoby as he's known has. His visit marked a new era in australia. Indonesia relations this week to cowie was only the second indonesian leader to address a joint sitting of parliament and he came to camera bearing a gift. He's approval of the trade deal between our two countries. Greg feely is associate professor of indonesian politics at the australian national university's college of asia and the pacific and diming kingsbury is professor international politics at deakin university in melbourne. greg damian. Welcome back to our in. Thank you now damien. Does that you kelly visit this week. Does that maka a dramatic breakthrough in australia. Indonesia relations look it's a really positive sign and it does mock an improvement in relations but i don think in itself comprises an entirely new relationship. It's just a step in the right direction. Okay so the the relationship still presumably dogged by bitterness and suspicion but it was obvious support and even warmth towards education from both sides of politics gregg fairly. Yes that's right i think The y.`all would characterize it is the jacobi visa was building on the breakthrough which is the comprehensive economic partnership agreement. That was signed early last year. And what saw with dakota's visa was. He's personal preparedness and preparedness. He's government to really put its white behind the agreement. I think a lot of people think the agreement in pie terms is very good but the question is canopy implemented properly. Can the red type be cleared away in indonesia. Can we persuade australian businesses to invest more Generously in indonesia and i think the jacoby visa guy very positive signs for that still a lot of things to done for that The potential of that agreement to be realized but it was really good. Move in that direction. Again it's been said that. The many lingering suspicions profile in jakarta indonesians still resent l leading role insecure in a team os independence because it was more than twenty years ago. Yes i think One of the ironies here he said indonesia now has very good relations with east t- more and he's teamer leaders Fighted in fact when i go to jakarta and the strata is still has this legacy of suspicion towards indonesia. I think you have to back. Partly in history this great saints vulnerability that Many asians feel that logic countries or large countries around them at trying to split up their country to conduct. Bulkin is it and the ace taymor. Even though he's team always not part of the original borders of the dutch colony. Die still feel that as team will confirmed that Other countries have these designs upon the country and upon its unity and after his team. More focusing shifted to papa. This strategy may still want to divide papua dining. You've written a lot about west papua and at the heart of the standoff in two thousand and six paul showed that something like seventy five percent of australian supported independence for the former dutch colony. This why the indonesians are uneasy about estrada's position. He certainly one of the issues in the makeup of mistrust and complexity in the relationship There's there's been longstanding depths in jakarta's to either strang government doesn't do more to acquire pro-separatist Sentiment in australia. They believe the particularly the ngo sector has played a role in stirring up separatist sentiment in west. Papua and there is Continuing concern that australia has too much of a focus particularly on eastern indonesia which is also the poorest part of the country. Well how then do we bridge. These divides greg. I mean to. What extent is this new free. Try deal. This is the so-called indonesia australia comprehensive economic partnership agreement. Ten years in the making to what extent does that he'll these divisions. I don't know that it heals the divisions poseidon. I think many of the the list of things you you sit out at the beginning of the interview. I think we have always had the potential. I knew things like that to occur but one of the consistently underperforming parts of the bilateral relationship has been the economic ties and so this comprehensive agreement will hopefully see much more economic activity between the two countries and that in itself might provide some kind of deepest ability but if the economic relationship expand by site thirty to forty percents in the next few years diamond. Wouldn't the free try deal really mocking important development for the relationship a look. There's no question that it's an important step in in in strengthening relationship. This guy is back to what gareth evans was talking about in the nineteen eighties. Where he said we needed to add ballast to the relationship unbalanced. He meant if we can get a strong economic relationship between australia and indonesia implies than the rest of it will follow behind because there will be a an upfront primary interest in preserving the economic relationship. And that's always been a difficulty. In the relations destroy and strength companies have invested in indonesia but not to a great extent. The head found difficulties. There this free trade agreement certainly opens up more opportunity for investments and tried but again and again as greg has alluded to. I think the question will be. How much strategies is to take out this opportunity and whether or not they say the the problems of doing business in indonesia over combat is free trade agreement whether or not there's going to be impediments to a greater degree of engagement. My guests greg. Feely from new in camera and damien. Kingsbury from deacon in melvin. And here's a little fun fact. This is according to the australian this week. It was chris. Bowen the library from benca podcast on iran and between the lines. It was chris bowen in his shirt who walked away the most chuffed with these brave. Jacoby interaction we he. The president complimented bowen's flawless fluency in indonesian. Little known fact chris. Bowen speaks indonesian now. A few years ago china's president she addressed indonesia's legislature to great fanfare. So the fees guy. Now what's the nature of the relationship now between jakarta and beijing greg. There's a lot of similarities between indonesia's relations with china and distributors Janis niger economic partner for indonesia. It's also niger investor in the country indonesia's increasing the Pot of china's belt and road initiative. So it's getting a lot of development money. These increasing penetration of lodge chinese corporations building infrastructure for example hospitalized row link between the capital jakarta and the regional capital abandon So there's a. There's a lot of economic activity happening and president. She has very good personal relationship with prisoner jacoby but they're also tensions. One of the tensions is chinese fishing boat incursions into indonesian territorial waters In near the south china sea in the name of the island of tuna and that causes a lot of angst in indonesia sometimes confrontation between Nio vessels of both countries. Another problem is a fairly high level of underwent lying suspicion towards the chinese in indonesia so this often bubbles politically to the surface in indonesia and people say that indonesia is at risk of losing some sovereignty to the chinese and so this is always a break for a leader. Such as jacoby who badly needs chinese investment and the development expertise if he saying as Ext doing that excessively will then he will be attacked for that. Well could chana's rise than i mean. It's obviously threatening. The integrity of sovereign states around the region diamond could could china's roz helped draw camera and jakarta even closer. Yes look there's been a discussion now going back several years in canberra about a closest security relationship within the news yet it seems to be a natural hartman in the region Geography i think determines that to a large extent but our strategic interests similar in relation to china about countries want to have a strong economic relationship with china We want to have china's investments and tried to sell into china but we also want to limit china's expansion in the region strategic rich particularly in the south china sea and In relation to them turner islands which is at the southwest of the south china saying there is neither lapping climbed by china and indonesia. And that's what to the tensions of mid january this year. What we're seeing though is. Indonesia is welcoming china roman hand but in terms of economic growth and development but in terms of china's growing strategic runyon ambition. There's a great deal of skepticism. I think in indonesia as the reason chinandega familiar story. Now let's turn finally gentlemen to indonesia internally. Let's get your reaction to something. The indonesian journalist. Julia sirak osama. This is what she told my. Rn colleague andrew west. This week joey. His record on democracy and human rights has declined and in fact now many activists think that not just activists observers think that democracy indonesia has lowest point in twenty years. It is ironic since when we had the reform era after suharto stepped down. That was supposed to be the beginning of democratization in indonesia but that has opened up a pandora's box and released all the traditional religious conservatives and mainly religious groups has sacrificed human rights. And what he says in a book phobia and intolerance for the sake. Offline call stability. Indonesian journalist julia sura kasama on iran's religion and ethics program. This week diming kingsbury. Look i think that Jacoby has moved in a couple of areas which have raised eyebrows. About his commitment to a plurality and human rights particular around the issues of religion and religious tolerance and so on. But broadly. I think jacoby is an inheritor of the reform tradition particularly that started by cecilia among indiana and that he really is deepening and embedding democratic practice. If we some limitations around the edges. Yeah well greg failure. I mean it's often argued that indonesia the fourth because nation in the world. We tend to forget that. It represents a persistent triumph of democracy this the nation journalists big for a lot of activists when she says that the indonesian ideal of tolerance really has been destroyed. So i think it's probably i'll i think she's somewhat. This is always a matter of the bites. Don't mean any disrespect to julius Sort of kasuma but Under jacoby in fact. Religious tolerance has somewhat improved on democracy. Some of the things that jacoby has initiated have really harmed the quality of democracy and there are several things that are being discussed by. he's government wrought now and by the parliament which if implemented could be a considerable reversal. He wouldn't stop indonesia being a democracy. But it would reduce the quality of the democracy greg damian and important discussion. Thanks so much again for being on our end

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