Jakarta. Vice President Jusuf Kalla received the visit of the Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop at his office on Jalan Merdeka Utara, Jakarta, on Monday (Mar. 21).
In the beginning of the meeting, Minister Bishop stated that her three-day visit to Indonesia is among others to inaugurate the new office of Australian Embassy in Kuningan, Jakarta, and Australian Consulate General in Makassar, South Sulawesi.
“Tomorrow I will inaugurate the largest Australian diplomatic mission in the world. This symbolizes the breadth and the depth of the relationship between Indonesia and Australia,” said Minister Bishop.
The two countries, she added, have long been tied in a relationship.
“I know from the museum in Darwin and Sydney that the first exporters to Australia were from Makassar,” the Vice President replied.
On trade relationship, Minister Bishop underscored the free trade cooperation under Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA) that had been discussed with the Indonesian Trade Minister Thomas Lembong during his visit to Canberra the week before.
“This cooperation is hoped able to create more benefits to the bilateral relationship of both countries,” she said.
Indonesian government, the Vice President responded, is still reviewing the proposed IA-CEPA, particularly in the efforts of increasing the trade value between Indonesia and Australia.
The meeting also paid attention to tourism sector.
Mr Kalla stated other than Bali, there are ten new priority tourist destinations in Indonesia the service quality and infrastructure of which is being improved.
The tourist destinations include Tanjung Kelayang in Belitung, Thousand Islands (Kepulauan Seribu), Tanjung Lesung in Banten, Borobudur Temple, Bromo Mountain, Mandalika, Wakatobi, and Morotai Island.
In education cooperation, Minister Bishop felt happy with the new development of Colombo Plan scholarship upon which around 2,000 Australian students studying in Indonesia.
“Indonesia is one of the most popular study destinations other than China, Japan, and South. Besides, Indonesian language has become a popular subject for Australian students,” she said.
In this regard, Mr Kalla spotted a potential cooperation in the hospitality education.
“There are definitely different styles and characters between Indonesian and Australian hotels. Education cooperation in this field could enrich the hospitality industry in both countries,” he said.
The meeting also covered security issues, particularly on how to tackle terrorism.
The Vice President underscored the importance of realizing justice and equality to all citizens as the absence of those two entities will potentially trigger conflicts and radicalism.
“Not only conflict ideology and politics, poverty and injustice could also cause radicalism,” he said.
Minister Bishop in response said she believed Indonesia was a big moderate country that can be a model for other countries.
“As one of the largest democratic countries, Indonesia has a significant influence in the Australian policy,” she said.
Data from the Indonesian Foreign Ministry recorded that the trade value between Indonesia and Australia reached US$8.5 billion. Both countries has also sealed at least 60 treaties in 20 different fields. The number of Australian tourists coming to Indonesia is also significant, more than one million visitor per year.
Other than inaugurating the new office of Australian Embassy in Jakarta and consulate in Makassar, Minister Bishop is slated to co-chair the Sixth Ministerial Conference on People Smuggling and Trafficking in Persons, and Related Transnational Crime with her Indonesian counterpart Minister Retno LP Marsudi. The forum with be held in Bali on March, 23 2016.