Peter Alford, theaustralian.com.au
Indonesian foreign relations experts welcome Malcolm Turnbull’s visit to Jakarta this week as resetting the difficult bilateral relationship, but they warn that the new [Australian] Prime Minister will meet a domestically preoccupied Joko Widodo and a “trust deficit”.
The Foreign Ministry is keen to forge a connection between Mr Joko’s digital economy ambitions for Indonesia and Mr Turnbull’s background as a communications minister and successful businessman in that sector. However, Jakarta is still tender over Abbott-era rows — disclosures of Australian electronic spying, asylum-seeker turnbacks and particularly the protracted controversy around the April 29 execution of Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan.
“Since April, it is about time to reset but it’s not going to be easy because there is a deficit of trust,” said former ambassador to Canberra Wiryono Sastrohandoyo.
“Trust is very difficult to build but very easy to destroy, especially with the current situation where public diplomacy is through the media, megaphone diplomacy,” said Mr Wiryono, a board member at Jakarta’s leading political think tank, the Centre for Strategic and International Studies. ...