Indonesia suspends military cooperation with Australia

AP News
Posted: Jan 04, 2017 3:00 AM

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesia said Wednesday that it has suspended military cooperation with Australia over an alleged insult of Indonesian state ideology.

Indonesian military spokesman Maj. Gen. Wuryanto said that cooperation has been suspended indefinitely, and that the decision was made after considering many matters.

Although Wuryanto, who like many Indonesians uses one name, declined to give the exact reason for the decision, he said among the factors were reports of an Indonesian instructor saying that a "laminated paper" displayed at the Australian Special Forces base where he worked was insulting.

"This is not a protest ... we would like to establish a useful cooperation for the two nations based on mutual respect," Wuryanto told The Associated Press. "Technically, it is not running well."

Australian Defense Minister Marise Payne said in a statement that Indonesia had informed Australia of the decision.

Some interaction between the two militaries "has been postponed until the matter is resolved. Cooperation in other areas is continuing," Payne said.

According to Indonesian media reports, the allegedly insulting paper displayed at the Special Forces base contained words that demeaned Pancasila — a set of vague principles that mandates belief in one God and unity among Indonesia's 250 million people.

Payne said Australia's army "has looked into the serious concerns that were raised" and the investigation into the incident is being finalized.

Military ties between the two nations had been improving since 2013, after Indonesia downgraded its relations with Australia over the alleged bugging of phones belonging to Indonesia's then-President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, his wife and members of his inner circle in 2009.


Associated Press writer Kristen Gelineau in Sydney contributed to this report.