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Scott Morrison holds economic talks with Indonesian President Joko Widodo

Posted by On 8:27 PM

Scott Morrison holds economic talks with Indonesian President Joko Widodo

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The new Australian Prime Minister touched down in Indonesia looking to follow in his predecessor’s footsteps.

Scott Morrison was greeted off the plane today by a government official, and later met with President Joko Widodo.

Mr Morrison is yet to have moved into the Lodge as Prime Minister, but today he visited the Indonesian Presidential Palace to talk about regional security, counter-terrorism and economy.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has met with Indonesian President Joko Widodo for 'incredibly important' talks.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has met with Indonesian President Joko Widodo for 'incredibly important' talks. (AAP)

He also sought to further secure a strong partnership between Australia and Indonesia, in the talks with Mr Widodo.

"It's incredibly important, it's so important that I should be here in my first week as PM and that's where I am," he said.

"This has been an important priority for me as PM and for my government.

The two leaders met in the Presidential Palace to discuss regional security, counter-terrorism and econom   y.
The two leaders met in the Presidential Palace to discuss regional security, counter-terrorism and economy. (AAP)
Mr Morrison is also seeking to strengthen ties with Indonesia amid a possible free trade agreement.
Mr Morrison is also seeking to strengthen ties with Indonesia amid a possible free trade agreement. (AAP)

"You don't get rich selling stuff to yourself. you've got to reach out as an economy like Australia and engage with the world."

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Australia and Indonesia are working on a free trade agreement, which is ye t to be signed, but will look to include aspects such as labour, the free movement of people and the goods coming in and out of each country.

The meeting also comes as the friendship between President Widodo and Malcolm Turnbull has been described as a “bromance”.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is in Indonesia, where he was met off the plane by government officials ahead of his meeting with the Indonesian President.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison is in Indonesia, where he was met off the plane by government officials ahead of his meeting with the Indonesian President. (9NEWS)
Scott Morrison shaking the hand of his government escort upon arrival.
Scott Morrison shaking the hand of his government escort upon arrival. (9NEWS)

It was an unusual way of looking at a relationship based on complex economic, security and geographic ties, but the pictures backed up the story.

There were happy snaps of Mr Widodo and his wife when they joined the Turnbulls for dinner at their Point Piper mansion, in Sydney.

Images of the two men taking selfies and strolls together, during President Widodo’s first official visit to Australia in 2017.

Prime Minister Morrison will be hoping to follow in Malcolm Turnbull's footsteps and his 'bromance' with the Indonesian President.
Prime Minister Morrison wil l be hoping to follow in Malcolm Turnbull's footsteps and his 'bromance' with the Indonesian President. (9NEWS)

And perhaps the most enduring image of the two came while they took an impromptu visit to a crowded marketplace in Jakarta in 2015.

The Indonesian President introduced the Australian Prime Minister to the locals â€" and the scenes that followed were sweaty, frenetic and symbolic.

Malcolm Turnbull had only become prime minister weeks earlier, and this visit was regarded as a sign of his desire to leave the past behind â€" in the wake of the Bali Nine executions â€" and move forward with the Indonesia-Australia relationship.

International relations experts say it’s a smart move by Mr Morrison that he’s also decided to place Indonesia at the to p of his international agenda.

“I think it’s important that the Prime Minister has decided to make this his first international trip…and it’ll certainly mean a lot to the Indonesian side,” Matthew Busch, non-resident fellow for the Lowy Institute’s East Asia Program, told 9NEWS.

“Indonesia and Australia will always be neighbours, they’ll never be able to get away from each other…they will always find things crop up and make things difficult from time to time, so it’s important to have the relationships, the diplomacy and the commercial links in place.”

Michael Shoebridge, Director of Defence and Strategy at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, said Australia relies on Indonesia for its sense of security.

Mr Widodo and former    prime minister Malcolm Turnbull formed a strong friendship during his term.
Mr Widodo and former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull formed a strong friendship during his term. (AAP)

“One of the reasons Australians feel so secure is because of our location in the world, and a big part of that is the fact that to our north is one of the most populous nations, a peaceful, strong partner to Australia that is really part of our protection in the world,” he said.

Indonesia also has the potential to provide economic benefits to Australia.

“It sees itself as a leader in ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) with the most economic potential to be a real global economic power,” Mr Shoebridge says.

“Australia needs to do the hard work in this relationship to lift our economic partnership.”

Indonesia and Australia have been working on a free trade agreement for around six years now.

For Mr Morrison though, this vi sit is not about making deals â€" it’s about developing personal ties.

And how he performs that task could impact on Australia’s future relations with a friend, who we don’t always see eye to eye with.

© Nine Digital Pty Ltd 2018

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