News / Asia

Indonesia's President Slams Australia's Abbott over Spying Claims

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono speaks during leaders' press conference at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Bali, Indonesia, Oct. 8, 2013.
Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono speaks during leaders' press conference at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Bali, Indonesia, Oct. 8, 2013.
VOA News
Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is criticizing Australia for its refusal to apologize over allegations that Australian spies listened in on his phone calls.
 
In a series of tweets Tuesday, the Indonesian leader accused Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott of belittling the issue and not showing remorse for the alleged spying, which he called "hurtful."
 
Indonesia has already recalled its ambassador from Australia and said it will now review all bilateral cooperation following the revelations.
 
Prime Minister Abbott told parliament on Tuesday that he regrets any embarrassment caused to his Indonesian counterpart, but also said that Australia "should not be expected to apologize" for what he called "steps taken to protect our country."
 
The Australian leader has not confirmed or denied the spying, but said that Australia gathers such information to help its allies, not to harm them.
 
Christopher Roberts of the Australian National University told VOA that the personal nature of the spying allegations has brought the diplomatic squabble to a "new level."
 
"I think it's something that will require some fairly significant diplomacy and possibly a public element from the Australian government, potentially in terms of some form of commitment of certain boundaries in the future," said Roberts.
 
The spying allegations first appeared in reports by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and The Guardian newspaper, which based their stories on secret documents leaked by ex-U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden.
 
The reports said the documents show Australian intelligence agents tracked activity on Indonesian President Yudhoyono’s mobile phone for 15 days in 2009. At least one of the president's calls was said to be intercepted. The news agencies also said the phones of Yudhoyono's wife, Kristiani Herawati, and eight other government officials were targeted.
 
Even before the latest allegations surfaced, Australian-Indonesian relations had been under strain. Last month, Indonesia summoned the Australian ambassador in Jakarta to complain about media reports claiming the Australian embassy was part of a vast U.S.-led surveillance network.
 
Abbott has also upset many Indonesians by ordering his government to turn boats of Australia-bound asylum seekers back to Indonesia.  He introduced the policy after taking office in September.
 
Roberts, who lectures on Asian politics and security at ANU, said he believes relations will eventually improve, but the scandals are testing what has become a crucial relationship for both nations.
 
"Australia and Indonesia have worked together [on security], leading to 600 arrests in the last several years of people involved in terrorist type plots. Australia and Indonesia are cooperating on human trafficking, people smuggling… developing trade linkages, exchange programs," Roberts pointed out.
 
While it is not clear whether those programs will be affected, Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalagawa suggested the Indonesian ambassador may not return to Australia for an extended period; he told the departing diplomat on Monday to pack more than just his "cabin baggage."

You May Like

Conflicts Engulf Christians in Mideast

Research finds an increase in faith-based hostilities, and Christians are facing persecution in a growing number of countries in the region More

Chinese Americans: Don’t Call Us 'Model Minority'

Label points to collective achievement, but some say it triggers resentment, unrealistic expectations More

Iran Bolsters Surveillance of Phones, Internet

Does increased monitoring suggest the government is nervous? More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Polish Ghetto

When the Nazi army moved into the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid