New Aussie PM Anthony Albanese to Strengthen Indonesian Ties

New Aussie PM Anthony Albanese to Strengthen Indonesian Ties
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese stands with Foreign Minister Penny Wong, at the door of their plane in Canberra, Australia, on May 23, 2022. (David Gray/Getty Images)

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will look to strengthen ties with Asia when he travels to Indonesia for key talks on Sunday.

The three-day visit to Jakarta is Albanese’s second overseas trip since he became prime minister last month.

Albanese will meet with Indonesian President Joko Widodo during the visit.

While his first trip was to Tokyo for the Quad leaders’ summit, Albanese said during the election campaign that Australia needed to build closer ties with Indonesia, having described the Asian nation as a future superpower.

“Indonesia is one of our closest neighbours, which is why I committed to visiting as soon as possible,” he said.

“Our two countries have a long history of cooperation and friendship, and my government will work with Indonesia to deepen this.”

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.

Albanese will also meet with ASEAN Secretary-General Dato Lim Jock Hoi while in Jakarta.

The prime minister will be accompanied by Foreign Minister Penny Wong, Trade Minister Don Farrell, Industry Minister Ed Husic and Darwin-based MP Luke Gosling on the visit

A high-level delegation of Australian business leaders will also travel to Indonesia as part of the country’s contingent.

Senator Wong said the government was serious about its engagement with Indonesia.

“We share a fundamental interest in promoting a more prosperous, stable and secure region, where sovereignty is respected,” she said.

“Australia’s partnership with Indonesia has never been more consequential to this objective.”

Albanese’s upcoming visit continues on an Australian diplomatic tradition where new prime ministers have made Indonesia one of their first international ports of call upon taking office.

Indonesia was the first overseas visit for former prime ministers Scott Morrison and Malcolm Turnbull.

The talks in Jakarta comes amid growing tensions in the Pacific, after China sought to sign a multi-nation deal with countries in the region, as well as multiple bilateral partnerships.

Indonesia had raised concerns last year about Australia signing up to the AUKUS security pact with the United Kingdom and US, as well as its decision to acquire nuclear submarines as part of the deal.

New treasurer Jim Chalmers has already spoken with his Indonesian counterpart ahead of the prime minister’s visit.

The visit to Indonesia by Albanese won’t be the only one this year, with Indonesia also playing host to the G20 summit.

World leaders will meet in Bali in November, while finance ministers will meet in July.

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