News World Asia Anthony Albanese commits to improving and expanding relations with Indonesia

Anthony Albanese commits to improving and expanding relations with Indonesia

The talks in Indonesia with President Joko Widodo will be the PM's second overseas trip since the election. Photo: Getty
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Anthony Albanese remains confident of maintaining positive relationships with Indonesia, ahead of his three-day trip to the country.

The Prime Minister will fly out for Jakarta on Sunday, where he will hold key talks with President Joko Widodo.

Mr Albanese said while he had already spoken with President Widodo since becoming prime minister, he was looking forward to continuing bilateral talks with Indonesia.

“My government is determined to have better relations across the Indo-Pacific region,” he told reporters in Perth on Sunday morning.

“My discussions with President Widodo have been very cordial and positive … we’ve met, of course, in the past, I look forward to the next couple of days.”

Following the talks in Jakarta, Mr Albanese will also visit the city of Makassar in the country’s east. He said it was critical that relations with Indonesia extended to all of the country.

Indonesia’s breadth and complexity

“It’s important that we recognise that Indonesia isn’t just Jakarta and Bali, it is a vast archipelago,” Mr Albanese said.

“It is an important nation to our north, the largest Muslim country on the planet.”

On the agenda will be trade, climate change and energy, as well as regional and global interests.

Discussions are also set to take place on the Indonesia-Australia comprehensive economic partnership agreement, along with Australia’s proposed $200 million climate and infrastructure fund.

The visit to Indonesia will continue an Australian diplomatic tradition of newly elected prime ministers making the country one of their first ports of call.

While Mr Albanese’s first overseas trip as prime minister was to Tokyo for the Quad Leaders’ Summit, he said repeatedly during the election campaign Indonesia would be a priority for his government.

As well as meeting President Widodo, Mr Albanese will hold talks with ASEAN Secretary-General Dato Lim Jock Hoi.

“Those discussions reflect as a priority that we have on southeast Asia,” Mr Albanese said.

The prime minister will travel alongside Foreign Minister Penny Wong, Trade Minister Don Farrell, Industry Minister Ed Husic, as well as Darwin-based MP Luke Gosling.

Business hitches a ride

A high-level delegation of Australian business leaders will also travel to Indonesia.

The visit comes amid growing tensions in the Indo-Pacific, with China’s foreign minister recently saying Australia had viewed China as a rival not a partner.

Mr Albanese said there was strategic competition in the region.

“What we need to do is to make sure that we have competition, recognise that it’s there without catastrophe,” he said.

“I certainly seek peaceful relations with all of our neighbours, recognising the challenges though, which there are.”

The prime minister will visit Indonesia again later this year for the G20 summit in Bali.

However, the summit may be overshadowed by the appearance of Russian President Vladimir Putin, following the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

Mr Albanese said the presidency of the G20 was important for Indonesia.

“People who respect human rights would feel uncomfortable with sitting around the table with Vladimir Putin,” he said.