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Jakarta Post

RI-Australia ties — It’s more important to be nice

  • Sabam Siagian and Endy Bayuni

Jakarta   /   Wed, November 14 2012   /  09:58 am

Australia has long been consistent in making the relationship with Indonesia one of the most important in its foreign policy. This was reaffirmed in Canberra’s latest white paper about Australia’s place in this Asian Century, where Indonesia is put along with China and India among Asian countries that Australia should be engaging with more, politically, economically and culturally.

Australia’s relations with Indonesia, in terms of its stated foreign policy objectives, have never matched those stated in 1994 by then prime minister Paul Keating: “No country is more important to Australia than Indonesia.”

Subsequent leaders, from John Howard to Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard have made a point, again in terms of their policy objectives, of ranking Indonesia high on their list of priorities as reflected by the frequency of their visits, or by making Indonesia their firs...