Jakarta and Canberra sought to calm tensions yesterday after Indonesia suspended military cooperation because of “insulting” teaching material found at an Australian base that questioned its sovereignty in Papua province.
Australian Defence Minister Marise Payne expressed regret and promised a thorough investigation of the row, which highlighted the sometimes prickly relationship between the neighbours. Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said he looked forward to the matter being resolved “as soon as possible”. “I acknowledge and value President Widodo’s commitment to the strategic partnership between our two countries and value our personal friendship,” said Mr Turnbull in a statement.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo said ties with Australia are “still in a fine condition” and that his Defence Minister and military chief have been asked to investigate. “We have agreed, Indonesia, Australia, to respect each other, to value each other and not meddle in each other’s domestic affairs,” said Mr Widodo.
Earlier, the Indonesian President said he had given the permission for the suspension of cooperation, after his office had initially claimed that he did not give the instruction.
… Mr Emirza Adi Syailendra, a research analyst with S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, added the episode “is a reminder that Australia needs to be politically sensitive towards Indonesia, especially when it comes to ideological matters and sensitive issues”.
Last updated on 11/01/2017