Indonesia: third-largest democracy in the world
Spread over more than 17,000 islands and with a population of 250 million, Indonesia is not only the third-largest democracy in the world. It is also South-East Asia’s largest economy, a member of the G20 and home to the ASEAN secretariat. Moreover, the multi-ethnic country boasts the world’s largest Muslim population as well as over 30 different ethnic groups.
Strategic dialogue: comprehensively strengthening relations
Foreign Ministers Westerwelle and Natalegawa
Guido Westerwelle met his Indonesian counterpart, Marty Natalegawa, in Jakarta for extensive talks. At a joint press conference, the two Foreign Ministers announced their intention to strengthen German-Indonesian relations by means of a new strategic dialogue. “As the world’s third-largest democracy, South-East Asia’s largest economy and a driving force within ASEAN,” Westerwelle said, “Indonesia is a pivotal partner for Germany.”
His fellow Foreign Minister, Marty Natalegawa, highlighted the common ground their two countries shared. Indonesia and Germany were both strong players within their regions, he said, as evidenced by the latter’s far-reaching commitment to the EU and the former’s active role in ASEAN. He pointed out that expanding cooperation would be to the benefit of both sides. German-Indonesian relations therefore shared the spotlight with such regional issues as the debt crisis in Europe and the current situation in the South China Sea.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was founded in 1967 and today has ten member states (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam). Cooperation in ASEAN to date has focused on economic integration. ASEAN is aiming to establish an economic community with a common market for goods, services, capital and labour by 2015.
Breathing life into the Jakarta Declaration
Chancellor Merkel and the President of the Republic of Indonesia Yudhoyono in Jakarta
Federal Chancellor Merkel visited Indonesia in July 2012. While she was there, she and the President of the Republic of Indonesia, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, agreed on a comprehensive partnership between Germany and Indonesia within the framework of the Jakarta Declaration. That partnership is now to be brought to life in the form of various cooperative arrangements in politics, business, education, culture and matters of climate change. The new strategic dialogue is a means of intensifying political relations.
Durable networks are growing out of exchange in education and research as well. There are already a lot of ties in place in this area. German is the second most popular foreign language in Indonesia, after English. Around 15,000 pupils are learning it at 28 schools run by the Schools: Partners for the Future initiative. Approximately 2500 Indonesian students are currently studying at German universities, and some 30,000 Indonesians have done so in the past.
Indonesia in Germany
In a demonstration of Germany’s close and dynamic relations with Indonesia, the largest economy in South-East Asia will often enjoy a presence here in the near future. Berlin is expecting a state visit from President Yudhoyono in spring, and Indonesia will be a guest at two global trade fairs in Germany in the course of 2013. In March, it will be the official partner country of the tourism fair ITB Berlin; in April, it will be the partner country of the BAUMA construction fair in Munich.
Unique cultural heritage: a visit to Borobudur
On the island of Java, Foreign Minister Westerwelle visited the Borobudur Buddhist temple compounds. Germany is sponsoring the preservation of this UNESCO World Heritage Site through the Federal Foreign Office’s Cultural Preservation Programme. Built around 1200 years ago, the pyramid-shaped temple sustained serious damage when Mount Merapi erupted in 2010. The Indonesian Government requested help from UNESCO in view of the technical challenge of freeing the temple compounds from the dangerous volcanic ash.
Under the auspices of the UNESCO programme, Germany is mainly helping with the restoration work, renowned German experts analysing the temple’s impressive carvings and advising their Indonesian partners on further conservation measures. Workshops and other training opportunities are also made available to Indonesian specialists.
Germany has been using the Foreign Office’s Cultural Preservation Programme to help preserve cultural treasures all over the world since 1981. Support principally goes to projects in developing countries. The objective is to strengthen people’s sense of their own national identity in the countries receiving assistance and to build up a cultural dialogue in a spirit of partnership.
Last updated 10.02.2013
Außenminister Westerwelle in Südostasien
Seine jüngste Asienreise führte Außenminister Westerwelle auf die Philippinen, nach Singapur und Indonesien.