Indonesia’s relationship with Australia was in crisis last week when The Guardian Australia and the ABC reported that Australia’s spy agencies tried to monitor the mobile phone calls of Indonesian president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, and nine of his inner circle members, including his wife.
This led to an outburst of rage and protests on the streets of Jakarta where many voiced concern over the revelations and the refusal of Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, to apologise to Indonesia. Indonesia halted all co-operation with Australia on people smuggling and suspended all joint military exercises.
Indonesia’s president said early this week that his country will restore normal diplomatic relations with Australia if the prime minister, Tony Abbott, signs up to a new bilateral code of ethics on intelligence sharing. A special envoy will be appointed to draft and negotiate the new “code of ethics” between the two countries to restore mutual relations.
The Indonesia president also tweeted a photo of himself reading a conciliatory letter received from President Abbott. Yudhoyono added that Abbott’s letter had assured him that Australia would not take any action that “disturbs and damages relations with Indonesia.”
As reported by the BBC this morning, Mr. Abbott suggested that the two countries organise a “security round table” to build trust and said their relationship should emerge stronger after the episode. He has proposed closer discussions with Indonesian officials in an effort to heal a rift over spying allegations.
Is it safe to travel to Bali?
Considering the series of events mentioned above, travellers coming to Indonesia and particularly Bali are worried about their safety and security.
The Indonesian economy relies heavily on Australian tourism in Bali so it is very unlikely that Australian travellers will be affected by political disagreement. There have been no complaints by our Australian guests so far.
The Australian media has been issuing warnings to travelers ever since the 2009 bombings. From the expat community in Bali, there has been no backlash so far towards the Australians and they are all waiting to celebrate Christmas and New Year’s Eve in Bali! If you have experienced any incidents, let us know.
Both governments are aiming at healing the rift and maintaining peaceful relations in the years to come. Naturally, we feel it’s quite safe to plan your holiday to beautiful Bali!