"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed, but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

Friday, September 11, 2015

Bali Nine executions left no lasting damage in Australia-Indonesia relations: Foreign Minister Julie Bishop

Four months after the Bali Nine executions, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has said diplomatic relations between Australia and Indonesia have been absolutely repaired.

Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran were executed by Indonesian authorities in April. Prior to that, Australian PM Tony Abbott reminded Indonesia of Australia’s tsunami relief contribution and appealed for clemency.

Amid speculations of causing irreparable damage in the bilateral relations between the countries, Indonesia went ahead with the executions anyway. The Australian foreign minister has now said there was no “lasting damage” done.

Bishop’s statement on Thursday revealed that she and her Indonesian counterpart Retno Marsudi are “text buddies.” She has also said the lines of communication have opened up “at all levels.”

“It is a broad, diverse and deep relationship. It has its challenges from time to time but the overall relationship is in good shape,” The Australian quoted Bishop by saying. “The personal contact between Australian government ministers and our counterparts is very important and that’s why Retno Marsudi and I keep in constant contact.”

Indonesian Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister Rizal Ramli said on Tuesday Australia was among 47 additional countries which would enjoy its visa-free policy. The latest move helps the number of countries with visa-free status with the Asian country go up to 92.

The decision was made to boost the tourism industry in the country. Rizal said three countries with “drugs, economic or radicalisation problems” had been excluded from the original proposal of 50 countries.

“We hope this extension will double the country’s foreign exchange income to US$20 million in the next five years,” The Jakarta Post quoted him saying. Indonesia targets 20 million tourist arrivals in the next five years.

Source: International Business Times, Sounak Mukhopadhyay, Sept. 3, 2015

Related article:
- Forget Bali! The Philippines is a paradise home to more than 7000 islands, news.com.au, August 28, 2015. From lush, thick jungle to dramatic mountain ranges and glistening white sand beaches, the Philippines is home to more than 7000 idyllic islands, waiting to be explored.

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