Jakarta, June 6 (EFE).- Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese met Indonesian President Joko Widodo in Jakarta on Monday during his first overseas trip after winning the elections on May 21.
Albanese, sworn in two weeks ago, underscored the strategic importance of ties with Indonesia, the world’s 16th largest economy.
“Australia’s relationship with Indonesia is one of our most important. We are linked not just by geography, but we are linked by choice. We have enjoyed a long history of cooperation and friendship. And our relationship is ever-deepened by the strategic and economic interests we share,” Albanese said in a statement.
He also pledged to boost cooperation and investment between the neighboring countries, whose diplomatic ties have undergone various ups and downs.
“Indonesia is on track to be one of the world’s five largest economies. Revitalizing our trade and investment relationship is a priority for my government,” he added.
Joko Widodo called “to continue to strengthen mutually beneficial bilateral cooperation,” both in the export of high-value Indonesian products to Australia, such as in the automotive industry, and those linked to the food safety chain, including wheat.
The Australian prime minister, accompanied by several ministers and senior business leaders, said he looked forward to advancing a “$200 million climate and infrastructure partnership with Indonesia.”
“True to my government’s ambitious climate targets, I want better access to affordable, reliable and secure clean energy right across our region, as we transition to a net zero world together,” he said.
It contrasts with the timid environmental policy of the previous Australian prime minister, Scott Morrison, a defender of the country’s reliance on the coal industry.
Albanese promised to attend the G20 leaders’ summit in Bali in November.
There has been some controversy surrounding the summit, currently chaired by Indonesia, which has insisted on inviting Russian President Vladimir Putin despite pressure from world leaders amid Russia’s ongoing attack on Ukraine.
Widodo has also invited Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to the meeting.
Albanese and Widodo also discussed other issues on the agenda, including cooperation in education, health, and regional security amid growing Chinese influence in the Indo-Pacific region.
“Deepening engagement with Southeast Asia is a priority for my government,” the Australian leader said.
He also said Australia would appoint a dedicated high-level roving envoy to the region. EFE