World

Australia, Indonesia restore 
full military ties following spat

SYDNEY Australia and Indonesia said yesterday that full military ties between the two countries had been restored, after Indonesia's military suspended cooperation in January because of "insulting" teaching material found at an Australian base.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull made the announcement alongside Indonesian President Joko Widodo, who arrived in Australia on Saturday for his first visit as president.

"President Widodo and I have agreed to full restoration of defence cooperation, training exchanges and activities," Mr Turnbull said at a news conference in Sydney.

Mr Joko's visit comes less than two months after military ties were suspended, an event that sparked a minor diplomatic spat and led to an apology from Australia's army chief. Military cooperation between the two countries has ranged from joint training and counter-terrorism cooperation to border protection.

The "insulting" material suggested that Indonesia's Papua province should be independent and mocked the nation's state ideology.

Indonesia and Australia have a history of patchy ties, but both leaders were keen to emphasise their commitment to a strong relationship.

RESPECT

Said Mr Joko: "That robust relationship can be established when both countries have respect for each other's territorial integrity, non-interference into the domestic affairs of each other and the ability to develop a mutually beneficial partnership."

While the main focus of the visit was on security and economic issues, including the finalisation of a bilateral free trade deal by year end, talks touched on tourism, cyber security and social links.

- REUTERS

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