Home Editorial INDONESIA-AUSTRALIA BILATERAL RELATIONS

INDONESIA-AUSTRALIA BILATERAL RELATIONS

The relationship between Indonesia and Australia has a long history, namely since the struggle for Indonesian independence. Australia is one of the first countries in the world that recognizes the rights of Indonesia's independence.

In its development, the bilateral relations of the two countries have ups and downs. This occurs because of differences related to political systems, social conditions, economy, and culture of both countries. However, the geographical facts which show that Indonesia and Australia are neighboring countries is a factor that drives the need to interact in conducive way to maintain the regional stability.

History records the bilateral relations between Indonesia and Australia has fluctuated from time to time. Australia was once the representative of Indonesia at the United Nations Goodwill Commission known as Tri State-Commission to discuss the formal recognition of the Republic of Indonesia in 1949. However, the relation has strained due to various reasons, starting from East Timor, Papua, illegal fishing, terrorism, smuggling, as well as issues on drug trafficking with its legal process.

In April 2015, for example, Indonesian President Joko Widodo ignored the Australian requests to grant pardons to convicted drug traffickers, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, until finally they were executed. But the successful visit of Prime Minister of Australia Malcolm Turnbull to Jakarta in the same year was seen to break the tension.

Recently, Indonesia was forced to temporary stop its military cooperation with Australia due to a technical problem concerning the training materials considered to vilify the Indonesian Military and insult Pancasila the state ideology.

Regardless the political tension between Indonesia and Australia, in fact the two countries need each other. Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) describes the relationship with Indonesia as "one of the most important parts of Australia, especially cooperation in trade, tourism, combating terrorism, education and culture which are mutually beneficial.

Hopefully the two-day state visit of President Joko Widodo to Australia from February 25 to 26, 2017, can strengthen the relationship and cooperation in various fields as well as improve the economy of both countries.

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