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Jakarta Post

Jokowi to discuss capital relocation during Canberra visit

  • Dian Septiari
    Dian Septiari

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sun, February 9, 2020   /   02:13 pm
Jokowi to discuss capital relocation during Canberra visit ndonesian President Joko Widodo speaks during his address to the Australian Parliament in the House of Representatives in Canberra on February 10, 2020. ( AFP/Lukas Coch / POOL)

Having confirmed that Indonesia’s capital will be moved from flood-ridden, traffic-congested Jakarta to East Kalimantan, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo will pay a visit to Australia’s Mount Ainslie to get a good view of Canberra, the country’s capital, during his official visit this weekend.

Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi said Jokowi would begin his visit by attending a state reception at Government House and meeting with Australian Governor-General David Hurley on Sunday.

"The President will also visit Mount Ainslie. It's a high place where we will be able to see Canberra from above," Retno said in a statement on Sunday. "As Canberra was [built to be] a new capital, the President will also discuss matters related to building a new capital." 

The 843-meter tall Mount Ainslie is located in the Canberra Nature Park in the northeast of the city and offers views of downtown Canberra, a planned city that was built to be Australia’s capital in the early 20th century.

Jokowi has pledged to relocate the country’s capital from Jakarta to East Kalimantan by the end of his second term in 2024, in a process expected to cost around Rp 466 trillion (US$33.5 billion).

Jokowi’s visit to Australia also marks 70 years of relations between the two countries and will be filled with wide range of activities in the political and economic fields.

"This presidential visit includes several important meanings, this year we celebrate 70 years of Indonesia-Australia relations,” Retno said, adding that later in the day, Jokowi would attend a dinner hosted by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

“It will be an informal dinner where many topics will be discussed,” she said. 

Jokowi also has a packed schedule for Monday, including a tete-a-tete with Morrison, the signing of a plan of action for a 2020-2024 strategic partnership agreement, as well as another agreement on transportation cooperation, Retno said.

Jokowi's visit comes not long after the Indonesian House of Representatives passed the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA), which was ratified by Australian lawmakers last year. Under the agreement, Indonesia will gradually cut 94 percent of its import duties on Australian products. In return, Australia will scrap 100 percent of its tariffs on Indonesian products.

Read also: Indonesia ratifies long-awaited free trade deal with Australia

"The President is visiting right after the ratification of the IA-CEPA, so for the next five years we will have a clear road map based on the action plan we have agreed on. Once the economic pillar is clear, the other pillars will also become clear. The hope is that the relationship between Indonesia and Australia will grow stronger and more mutually beneficial going forward,” Retno said. 

Jokowi will also visit several high-ranking Australian government officials, including the head of the Australian opposition, the speaker of the Australian House of Representative and the head of the Australian Senate. 

Indonesian Ambassador to Australia Kristiarto Legowo said the President would also deliver a speech at Parliament House on Monday, making him the 12th foreign leader to do so in Australian history.