Joint Media Statement with Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jakarta

  • Transcript, E&OE

MINISTER MARSUDI Good morning to all media. It is really an honour for me to receive my dearest colleague, my good friend, the Honourable Julie Bishop in Jakarta and she will also travel to other parts of Jakarta [Indonesia].

We just finished our bilateral meeting as usual which went well in a frank atmosphere [inaudible] and this is the first meeting after three months when I had a meeting with the Honourable Julie Bishop in Sydney for the 2002 [inaudible]. Maybe Julie was one of the most favourite [inaudible].

On top of the bilateral issues we also discussed about the preparation for the Bali Process because both of us will chair the Bali Process on Wednesday but then we focussed on some issues of the bilateral events, bilateral issues I'm sorry. The first is that we will formally welcome, and held in a positive tone, the progress we've had in the last 3 months since December. First is our commitment and our agreement to start the negotiation in the context of Indonesia and Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement.

The peak [inaudible] already done by the Indonesian Minister of Foreign Trade when he was in Australia on 14-18 March 2016. So the third round of negotiation will start very soon, hopefully somewhere in May this year and the chief negotiator also already appointed. And the second issue of the bilateral context is our common commitment to strengthen the Indonesia Australia Dialogue. It was pending a meeting but I informed Minister Julie Bishop that Indonesia already decided to appoint Ambassador [inaudible] as the Chair from the Indonesian side because the Indonesia Australia dialogue is a very important forum to strengthen the second track of people to people contact [inaudible] and explore ways for more sustainable and resilient relations and hopefully that the meeting will take place in Indonesia this year.

Then the third issue that we discussed was of course on education because we have a very strong relations on education. Minister Julie Bishop initiative a very good initiative, the New Colombo Plan, and I have been information that Indonesia become one of the most attractive destinations for the Australian students of course in term of student Indonesian stability thousands students study in Australia plus Indonesia offers some scholarships for Australia students.

So that is the bilateral issues that we discussed in very positive terms, very progressive if compared with the three months when we met in Sydney, we have a very strong complement to move forward, even better and stronger than [inaudible].

MINISTER BISHOP Thank you Foreign Minister Marsudi, I'm delighted to meet with you again on this my seventh visit to Indonesia as Australia's Foreign Minister and of course, you and I, meet frequently around the world as well as in Sydney last December and now here in Jakarta. I am in Indonesia for a three-day visit, spending today in Jakarta I will be formally opening the Australian Embassy here today and this is our largest overseas diplomatic post and will be a symbol of the breadth and the depth and the importance of this relationship between Australia and Indonesia. Tomorrow I will be opening the new Consulate-General in Makassar which really underscores our understanding of the need to develop greater economic ties beyond Jakarta and in other regions and Makassar is the fifth largest city in Indonesia, is a booming economic location and we want to ensure that Australia and Indonesia partner in trade and investment, and deepening the economic opportunities between our two countries.

As Retno indicated, the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement is being reinvigorated, with the trade negotiations to recommence shortly and this will be yet another example of the strength and diversity of the relationship between Australia and Indonesia as our business links deepen. Two-way trade is somewhere around $15 billion but there is unlimited potential for us to increase that level of engagement for the benefit of both our economies and of course the promotion of jobs.

We also discussed other bilateral issues, including our cooperation on counter-terrorism, and to ensure that Australia and Indonesia share as much information as possible so that we can work together in order to keep our region safe from terrorism. We discussed other regional issues and we will continue to do so as we co-chair the Bali process ministerial meeting in Bali on Wednesday.

On the education front, yes we talked about other ways to enhance our education exchanges and I'm delighted to confirm that the Australian Government's initiative, the New Colombo Plan, which sees Australian students undertaking study in countries our region, Indonesia is in fact the most popular destination of Australian students. They have 37 countries to choose from and so many of them are selecting Indonesia. By the end of this year, the program's third year, 2,000 Australian students will have studied in Indonesia under the New Colombo Plan.

So I am delighted to have this opportunity to discuss such a range of issues with Foreign Minister Marsudi and confirm the breadth, the depth and the strength of our relationship is continuing and particularly building on the very important high level meetings that have taken place between our two countries. Prime Minister Turnbull visited here, people in Australia are still talking about the President and the Prime Minister's visit to the marketplace. Andrew Robb and the Trade Minister visited here with their Australian delegation of 360 businesses as of course we've had visits to Australia from high level Indonesia ministers. So government to government, business to business, and people-to-people links, this relationship will endure.

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