In a press briefing Thursday, the Indonesian foreign ministry’s director of East Asia and the Pacific noted it had become a tradition for newly elected Australian prime ministers to choose Southeast Asia’s largest economy as one of their first countries to visit.
Santo Darmosumarto said the talks would focus on post-Covid economic recovery and the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement — a trade deal ratified in 2020 that has not been fully implemented due to the pandemic.
The leaders will also discuss the G20, chaired this year by Indonesia, Darmosumarto said.
An analyst said that Australia-Indonesia ties can be volatile.
“The Australia-Indonesia’s relationship can be tumultuous, like a rollercoaster,” Teuku Rezasyah, an international relations expert from Padjadjaran University told AFP Sunday.
He said the ties could be at risk if Australia pushed its neighbor towards an alignment or “forced Indonesia to be a part of AUKUS”, referring to the security pact between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Indonesia is one of several Asian countries that expressed concerns about the AUKUS pact, with Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi warning it could trigger a nuclear arms race in the region.
Australia is also a member of the Quad, an alliance formed to counter China’s push for regional dominance in the Asia-Pacific region.
When it comes to contests between superpowers, Indonesia, on the other hand, prefers a non-aligned stance.
The total value of trade between Australia and Indonesia in 2018-19 was $12.3 billion.