Australian leader visits Indonesia in bid to repair ties

AP News
Posted: Nov 12, 2015 7:31 AM
Australian leader visits Indonesia in bid to repair ties

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull tried to mend fences with Indonesia, Southeast Asia's largest economy, in his first overseas trip on Thursday since taking office two months ago.

Turnbull's one-day visit is seen as a chance to repair ties damaged by a row over the executions in April of two Australians who were convicted on drug trafficking charges.

His predecessor, Tony Abott, withdrew the ambassador in protest but he returned a month later. A year earlier, Indonesia had temporarily recalled its ambassador over the alleged phone bugging by Australia of then-President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, his wife and nine ministers in 2009.

Turnbull and Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo agreed to boost trade and investment in infrastructure and the cattle industry as well as official and business visits in order to help move relations forward.

Bilateral trade stands at $10.6 billion, and Australian investment in Indonesia is worth $647.3 million in total of 226 projects. Over 1 million Australian tourists visit Bali each year.

Turnbull told reporters in a news conference that a large delegation of more than 340 businesspeople is expected to visit Indonesia next week. Indonesia is also the largest export market for Australian live cattle.