News / Asia

    Obama Seeks Stronger Ties With Widodo, Indonesia

    Indonesian presidential candidate Joko Widodo talks to the media during his visit at a reservoir development project in Jakarta, Indonesia, July 22, 2014.
    Indonesian presidential candidate Joko Widodo talks to the media during his visit at a reservoir development project in Jakarta, Indonesia, July 22, 2014.
    Victor Beattie

    U.S. President Barack Obama congratulated Indonesia’s President-elect Joko Widodo earlier this week and said the election outcome, in which Widodo defeated former army General Prabowo Subianto by about 8 million votes, indicates the commitment of the Indonesian people to democracy.  

    Peter McCawley, a longtime expert with the Australian National University’s (ANU) Indonesia Project, said, despite Prabowo Subianto’s intention to challenge the election results, Obama’s statement is an implicit endorsement of the outcome.

    "No doubt the election was not 100 percent clean. There have been reports of hijinks (misconduct), games, of maneuvers on both sides. We need to emphasize that, on both sides,” McCawley said.

    “By world standards,the election was surprisingly good. The election authorities in Indonesia were well-organized, the count was well-organized, and the ballot boxes have been protected. There is some dispute about some voting in some parts of Indonesia, but the best observers say any faults in the system are minor.  And, they certainly do not undermine the overall result,” he added.

    Comprehensive Partnership

    The U.S. president reaffirmed the importance of “the close and cooperative relationship with Indonesia,” including the two countries’ Comprehensive Partnership.

    Obama said he looked forward to meeting Widodo, widely known as Jokowi, and working with him to deepen ties and promote shared objectives.  

    Their first opportunity to meet may be in Myanmar, also known as Burma, during an East Asia summit in November. Widodo is to be inaugurated in October.

    The U.S./Indonesia Comprehensive Partnership was officially launched during Obama’s visit to Jakarta in November 2010 and focuses on energy, security, trade and investment, democracy, civil society, education, and climate and environmental issues.  McCawley said.

    Across the board, the relationship has been good, although there are disagreements, he added.

    "There is some concern, at present, about some policies at the Indonesian end about control of foreign investment. But this is the usual sort of push-and-pull in trade and investment matters between many countries and, in that area as well, the relationship is currently a strong and good one,” McCawley said. “There is, of course, the question now whether a new president brings changes of policies. But there is no sign that the new president is likely to do anything other than to continue this relationship."

    Obama has tried to cultivate a closer U.S. relationship with incumbent President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono as part of his administration’s rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region.  

    ANU analyst Greg Fealy said Indonesia is an important part of the U.S. rebalance because of its strategic location:

    "It is the world’s largest archipelagic nation and it sits astride many of the major sea routes between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean and their important trade routes and, of course, military routes,” Fealy said. “It’s also important as the dominant country in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

    “So, it’s very important for U.S. diplomacy in Southeast Asia to have Indonesia supporting its initiatives, and that gives a much better chance that other regional countries will also be collaborating with the United States,” Fealy added.

    Human rights report

    The 2013 U.S. human rights report criticized Indonesia for failing to conduct transparent and credible investigations into allegations of extrajudicial killings by security forces, and expressed concern about the lack of protection of the rights of religious and social minorities.  

    Fealy said the country’s human rights record should improve under Widodo.

    "He’s very pluralistic in his orientation. We know that he got the vast majority of votes from the non-Muslim sections of the population, about 13 percent of the total population, and that shows that religious minorities trust him."

    Fealy said Widodo has a track record, as governor of Jakarta and mayor of a major city in central Java, of being economically oriented. Widodo also knows that the success of his forthcoming administration will be in maintaining the country’s economic growth, Fealy said.

    That means he will want to maximize trade and investment opportunities with countries like the United States, he added.

    You May Like

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: riano baggy from: ina
    July 24, 2014 8:17 AM
    yes we hope two countries have better vision to make good stability for ASEAN territorial and also make strong commitment to ease even stop conflicts in middle east, afrika and asia etc to make better world.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.