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

Kurdish Party Pushes Political Gamble to Run in Turkey Poll

HDP announces it will run as political party instead of fielding independent candidates in June election, but faces tough 10 percent threshold More

Twitter Targets Islamic State

New research shows suspending Twitter accounts of Islamic State, its supporters has been effective; group, its backers are facing 'significant pressure,' says terrorism expert More

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

Majur Juac made the leap from being a refugee in Africa to a master chess champion in US, where he shares his expertise with students More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Spacei
X
Rosanne Skirble
January 27, 2015 5:05 PM
The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Saved By a Mistake - an Auschwitz Survivor's Story

Dagmar Lieblova was 14 when she arrived at Auschwitz in December 1943, along with her entire Czech Jewish family. All of them were to die there, but she was able to leave after several months due to a bureaucratic mix-up which saved her life. Now 85, with three children and six grandchildren, she says she has a feeling of victory. This report by Ahmad Wadiei and Farin Assemi, of RFE/RL's Radio Farda is narrated by RFE’s Raymond Furlong.
Video

Video Weekly Protests in Korea Keep Japanese WWII Atrocities Alive

Every week in Seoul protesters gather in front of the Japanese Embassy to demand an apology and reparations from Tokyo for the thousands of South Korean women who were forced into prostitution during World War II. Although this year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of the war, these protestors have helped keep the issue of comfort women alive and made it difficult for Japan to move beyond its past wartime atrocities. VOA's Brian Padden reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Exercise: New Prescription for Parkinsons Disease

Exercise could be the new prescription for Parkinson's Disease, a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects movement. More than six million people worldwide suffer from Parkinsons and they're traditionally treated with medication and surgery. Shelley Schlender has more.
Video

Video Brussels Shaken as New Greek Leader Challenges Europe’s Austerity Drive

Greece’s youngest-ever prime minister, 40-year-old Alexis Tsipras, was sworn in Monday after his victorious far-left Syriza party entered a coalition with far right rivals. Tsipras says he will restore dignity to Greece by ending spending cuts. So begins a new chapter for the country at the epicenter of Europe’s economic crisis - a change that has sent tremors across the continent, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Oil Price Drop Troubles Texas Producers

As oil prices have fallen over the past several months, drilling operations have slowed in some parts of the United States - including Texas, the state that surpasses all others in energy production. The Lone Star State’s energy output has been boosted in recent years by development of resources trapped deep below ground in the Eagle Ford shale deposit, which stretches across south central Texas. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Karnes City, Texas, the drop in oil prices has created concerns,
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid