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Jakarta Post

Avengers, assemble: Jokowi calls for Indonesia, Australia to unite against challenges

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Mon, February 10, 2020   /   07:55 pm
Avengers, assemble: Jokowi calls for Indonesia, Australia to unite against challenges President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo (left) addresses the Australian Parliament in Canberra on Monday. (Presidential Palace Press Bureau/Laily Rachev)

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has once again dropped a pop-culture reference in one of his speeches, this time, mentioning the blockbuster Avengers franchise while conveying his vision for Indonesia-Australia relations before the Australian Parliament on Wednesday.

Jokowi spoke about the need for Indonesia and Australia — which are celebrating 70 years of diplomatic relations — to strengthen their collaboration for the next three decades, particularly amid the rise of global uncertainties and economic slowdown.

The President cited various global problems that Indonesia and Australia should tackle together as democracies and close neighbors, ranging from climate change and intolerance to poverty and trade protectionism.

“Collaboration between Indonesia and Australia amid the rising global uncertainties can be illustrated by Avengers: Endgame,” Jokowi said in his speech, which he delivered in Indonesian.

“When positive forces unite, [like when] the Avengers assemble, then the common enemy can be defeated.” 

Jokowi proposed four priority focuses for Indonesia and Australia to work on together before they commemorate a century of diplomatic ties in 2050 when Jokowi said the two countries would be big players in both the region and the world. 

The focuses are for Jakarta and Canberra to continue advocating values of democracy and diversity; promote open, free and fair economic cooperation; collaborate to become partners of development in the Pacific region; and work together to preserve the environment and for sustainable development.

“First, [we must end] intolerance, stop xenophobia, stop radicalism and stop terrorism,” Jokowi said.

The President also denounced identity politics, which he described as “a threat to the quality of democracy”, and called for the two countries to strengthen win-win economic cooperation.

“If Indonesia and Australia work together and collaborate, we can overcome intolerance, protectionism as well as threats of poverty and climate change.” 

This was not the first time Jokowi had referenced a TV or movie in his speech, particularly one from the Marvel universe.

When addressing the World Economic Forum (WEF) on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Vietnam in September 2018, Jokowi compared the state of the world’s economy to another Avengers movie, by saying that the ongoing trade wars must not become an Infinity War.

He also used the popular TV series Game of Thrones to describe the escalating tensions caused by global trade disputes during the International Monetary Fund and World Bank Group Annual Meetings in Bali in October 2018.

Jokowi, who is currently on his fourth visit to Australia since taking office, has become the second Indonesian president in history to address the Australian Parliament, following in the footsteps of his predecessor Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who delivered his remarks there in 2010.

Speaking prior to Jokowi, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison also expressed his vision for the two countries, especially following the ratification of the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA).

“By continuing to work together, we can build the region resilient and make our people safer and our economies stronger,” Morrison said.

The House of Representatives ratified last week the highly-anticipated IA-CEPA, which is designed to significantly cut tariffs on commodity exports between the two countries while offering various investment privileges. (mpr)