Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull met and secured closer military and free trade ties between Indonesia’s 250 million people and Australia’s population of 24 million.
The two leaders saw the signing of an agreement on maritime cooperation that combine strengthening maritime security and border protection as well as combating crime and improving efficiency of shipping, according to Fox news.
Anna Gibson, a senior marketing major studying abroad in Australia, said that, from what she can see about Australia, the people are very accepting of different cultures and ethnicities. This acceptance of others, while extending to other nationalities and ethnicities, comes with a wariness towards tense country relations. “With the abundance of Asians, South Africans, kiwis (people from New Zealand), and Americans now living here, there is some underlying acceptance that Australia, at least in Brisbane, seems to have,” Gibson said.
Both leaders have an interest in the region’s seas and oceans and encourage the countries to follow international law when in disputes. Turnbull said international law is the foundation for stability and prosperity, according to Aljazeera news.
Free trade, tax tariffs, naval and military negotiations are among the topics discussed between regions. These tense topics layout the agreement between Australia and Indonesia to repair the relationship between the countries.
Gibson’s time in Australia has shown her the differences between Australia and America. The currencies are different and the views on trade seem less relevant to everyday life. “I’m always for free trade, so maybe [the agreement] will be beneficial.”
In the past, military cooperation between Australia and Indonesia has ranged from training together to protecting their borders. This military agreement starts a new era in the cooperation in this region.
This cooperation was temporarily suspended in January after an Indonesian officer claimed to see derogatory writings about the ideology of Indonesian Pancasila. Apologies made for these writings, found in training materials used at a military base in Perth, Australia, occurred soon after the suspension of cooperation, and negotiations began again, according to Aljazeera news.
The countries have struggled with defense cooperation in the past. Tensions on land and sea occurred between Australia and Indonesia, but the new agreement is set to calm the tensions and restore peace. The new trade ideas caused the recollection of some past misdemeaners between regions for Australian native Craig Alexander.
“The Australian government and Indonesian government didn’t start out happy with each other. The smuggling of goods from Indonesia to Australia rocked the boat a bit. This hurt trade agreement opportunities,” Alexander said. These tensions caused a rift between the countries that the leaders are attempting to repair through the new military and free trade ties.
Both countries are attempting to place vocal learning centers in their cities to help teach the languages and open communications between regions to enforce the new cooperations. The language teaching centers will open in Surabaya, Indonesia and the Australian cities of Sydney,