Wednesday, February 8, 2017

1) Freeport to Reduce Indonesian Mining Activities: Smelter Official

2) Jokowi to Visit Australia in Late February: Minister Wiranto

3) Indonesia accepts Australian apology and promise of punishment over offensive material

4) Indonesia, Australian military officials meet over Papua row

1) Freeport to Reduce Indonesian Mining Activities: Smelter Official
By : Wilda Asmarini | on 5:31 PM February 08, 2017
Jakarta. Freeport-McMoRan has warned it will scale back activities at its Indonesian copper mine, an official at Indonesia's main copper smelter, PT Smelting, said on Wednesday (08/02), amid a worker strike and other issues.
Freeport's Grasberg mine in Papua, Indonesia, is the world's second-largest copper mine, and recent disruptions there have helped support a jump in copper prices.
Grasberg had aimed to produce around one-third of the Freeport's total copper output this year, up from less than a quarter in 2016, as it digs into higher-grade ores.
"Freeport has just issued a notice this morning that they will reduce [mining] activities in stages," Smelting director Prihadi Santoso told reporters.
"We are trying to meet our commitments to our clients," he said, declining to comment on what had sparked the strike at the mine or how many people were involved.
PT Smelting is 60.5 percent owned by Mitsubishi Materials Corporation, while Freeport Indonesia holds 25 percent.
Lower output from Grasberg would affect Smelting, which processes around 40 percent of the mine's copper concentrate production, Prihadi said, noting he did not know how much the volumes would be cut.
A spokesman for Freeport Indonesia confirmed by text message that it had sent out a notice on output cuts at Grasberg.
Last week, Phoenix-based Freeport warned it could be forced to cut staff, spending and production in Indonesia if it did not get a new export permit by mid-February.
Freeport CEO Richard Adkerson said in late January that labour issues were hampering production as Grasberg targets to wind up its open pit mining in late 2018.
"As we've approached the completion of the pit, workers have been raising complaints, grievances, and have simply not been meeting productivity standards," he said.
A spokesman for Freeport workers union did not respond to requests for comment.
Indonesia's Coal and Minerals Director General Bambang Gatot said on Wednesday that Freeport had not been issued with a new permit yet and there had been no reports of layoffs.
Freeport said on Friday last week it was still working with the Indonesian government to resolve issues after exports of its copper concentrate were halted Jan. 12. The Southeast Asian country banned export shipments of semi-processed ore to boost its local smelter industry.
Copper prices on the London Metal Exchange have climbed 6 percent on supply concerns since Indonesia stopped Freeport's concentrate shipments and as a strike looms at top copper mine Escondida.

WEDNESDAY, 08 FEBRUARY, 2017 | 22:30 WIB
2) Jokowi to Visit Australia in Late February: Minister Wiranto
TEMPO.COJakarta - Coordinating Political, Legal, and Security Minister Wiranto expressed his appreciation to the Australian Military for investigating the defamation of state symbol Pancasila at a military language training center.
"I think we have to appreciate Australia's goodwill to investigate [the case]. It's our commitment, and the investigation into the case is a positive thing for Indonesia," Wiranto said at his office in Jakarta on Wednesday, February 8, 2017.
Wiranto admitted that the relationship between Indonesia and Australia is not always smooth.
"[But] that doesn’t disrupt the relationship between the two countries, which is based on shared interests, including those related to the economy, regional and global security, and any other interests that will benefit both countries," Wiranto added.
Wiranto pointed out that one of the evidence of the good relationship is President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's plan to visit Australia in late February 2017.
"On February 26, [the President] will visit Australia to meet the Australian Prime Minister. It reflects a strong relationship between Indonesia and Australia," Wiranto explained.
However, Wiranto could not yet confirm whether the government will resume military cooperation with Australia. According to Wiranto, the decision will depend on talks between Indonesian Military Commander Gen. Gatot Nurmantyo and Australian Military Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Angus Campbell.
It was reported that Campbell will present the results of the investigation into the incident that occur at the Australian Military Base's language school in Perth.


3) Indonesia accepts Australian apology and promise of punishment over offensive material

Australian Army Chief Angus Campbell apologises to Indonesian Military Commander General Gatot Nurmantyo in Jakarta. Photo: Supplied

Indonesia's military chief says Australia has apologised over "very sensitive and painful" material found at an army base in Perth that insulted Indonesia's state ideology and promised "strict punishment" for all personnel involved.

General Gatot Nurmantyo said he accepted the apology but a decision was yet to be made about the continuation of military cooperation between the two countries.

The defence fracas broke out in early January after it emerged an Indonesian language instructor had come across curriculum at Campbell Barracks that included an assignment on West Papuan independence and a spoof of the state ideology Pancasila, which suggested its five principles were crazy.

It initially appeared as if all defence ties between the two nations had been suspended as a result, although Chief Security Minister Wirantolater clarified the postponement of cooperation related to the Special Forces Australia language training program only.

In a statement released on Wednesday night, the Indonesian military said Australian Army chief Angus Campbell had conveyed "deep regret and apology" over the incident that occurred at the language training institution of the Special Forces Command of the Australian Army.
It said the Australian military would stop Indonesian language learning activities and conduct an internal restructure as well as revise the learning materials.
"The Australian Defence Force will also apply strict punishment to all personnel involved and responsible for the incident, which affects their career," General Gator said in the statement.
He told reporters in Ambon that Lieutenant General Campbell had stressed the material found did not reflect the views of the Australian Army when he met with him in Jakarta on Wednesday.
"Therefore steps have been taken to close down the school and carry out an evaluation over the curriculum because the curriculum was not right," he said on Wednesday night.
"And the most important thing is to carry out the process of punishing either the school's principal or related personnel in a way that will affect their careers."
General Gatot said in the statement that Indonesians were willing to die defending the state ideology of Pancasila, which lays out the nation's broad principles of religion, civilised humanity, social justice, democracy and unity.
"Moreover for TNI (Indonesian military) soldiers ... that is very sensitive and painful,"
General Gatot said he was grateful for the "quick and decisive action" from Chief of the Australian Defence Force Mark Binskin and Lieutenant General Campbell.
He said he had accepted the apology and "realised that in this competitive global era, unity and friendship were needed by neighbouring countries".
However at the end of the meeting, the Indonesian military chief had not made any decision about the continuation of military cooperation between the two countries.
It would be discussed with the Indonesian Defence Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister and the result reported to President Joko Widodo.

4) Indonesia, Australian military officials meet over Papua row
Posted 09 Feb 2017 01:15

File photo of Indonesian military chief Gatot Nurmantyo talking to reporters in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Jan 5, 2017. (REUTERS/Beawiharta/File Photo)
JAKARTA: Australia's army chief has apologised for comments deemed insulting to Indonesia that were contained in teaching material found at an Australian military base, Indonesia's armed forces chief said on Wednesday (Feb 8).
However, no decision has yet been made on fully restoring defence ties, General Gatot Nurmantyo said.
The material in question referred to Indonesia's eastern province of Papua needing to be independent and "discredited the TNI, the nation of Indonesia and even the ideology of Indonesia," Nurmantyo had said previously.
Papua province forms part of the island of New Guinea and borders the country of Papua New Guinea.
The affair prompted Indonesia to suspend some defence ties with its neighbour last month. Nurmantyo met Australian Lieutenant General Angus Campbell in Jakarta to discuss Australia's investigation into the teaching material.
"Lieutenant General Campbell conveyed regret and apologised for the incident," the Indonesian military said in a statement.
Campbell said that the Australian military would impose sanctions on all the personnel involved, according to the Indonesian statement. Australian officials were not available for comment.
The two countries have extensive military cooperation, which ranges from counter-terrorism to border protection.
Indonesia suspended military ties in 2013 over revelations that Australian spies had tapped the mobile telephone of then President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
- Reuters

Internal cable suggests Indonesia never intended to fully suspend military ties

Jakarta: An internal Indonesian military cable issued last month states the suspension of co-operation between the Australian and Indonesian military only affected activities under one sub-committee, suggesting Indonesia never intended to completely suspend military ties.
The December 29 cable, seen by Fairfax Media, was sent on behalf of military chief Gatot Nurmantyo, and said activities under the joint operation and exercise sub committee were being halted.

There are four sub-committees under the Australia Indonesia High Level Committee, which brings together the chiefs of both Australia and Indonesia's defence forces and convened for the first time in April 2013.
Other sub-committees include intelligence and logistics.

Indonesian military spokesman Major-General Wuryanto confirmed to Fairfax Media that navy joint patrols and co-operation between the two countries to combat people smuggling had never been affected by the suspension.
For a dramatic two days it appeared Australia and Indonesia were facing another bilateral crisis after Indonesian newspaper Kompasbroke the story that an Indonesian officer had complained about material taught at Campbell Barracks, an Australian army base in Perth.
The material related to sensitive issues including East Timor, West Papuan independence and Indonesia's state ideology, Pancasila.
After multiple and perplexing statements from the government and military that seemed to indicate a suspension of all defence ties, chief security minister Wiranto finally issued a statement on Thursday evening saying that only activities involving language training in a special unit in Australia had been suspended.
"This does not mean the termination of defence co-operation as a whole, as has been reported in the media lately," he said.
Defence analyst Evan Laksmana from the ‎Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Indonesia said it was wrong to suggest Indonesia wanted a blanket ban on defence co-operation with Australia and was now backing down.
"I have seen the letter from our side of things in which from the beginning it was always limited," he said.
"I think there was confusion because there was at least 24 hours before there was clarification from the parties concerned about the extent to which there is a freeze."
"I don't think it is true at all that ... we wanted a blanket freeze and now we are backing down."
Mr Laksmana also said there was no solid evidence that this was an individual attempt by General Nurmantyo to suspend military co-operation because he didn't like Australia.
"I think we need to be very careful with assigning personal motives to Gatot as to the reason behind the suspension," he said.
The executive director of the Institute for Defence, Security and Peace Studies in Indonesia, Mufti Makarim, said the internal cable, which was sent to the Indonesian infantry, navy and air force chiefs, only mentioned military co-operation under the joint exercise and operations subcommittee.
"It was not a postponement of all military cooperation between Indonesia and Australia," he said.
Australian Defence Minister Marise Payne issued a carefully worded statement on Wednesday saying that "some interaction between the two defence organisations had been postponed" until the concerns raised by the Indonesian officer were resolved.
"Co-operation in other areas is continuing," she said in the statement.
President Joko Widodo appeared to confirm the diplomatic rift the following day saying that while it was an operational issue it was a matter of principle and Australia and Indonesia had agreed to stay out of each other's internal affairs.
However his chief security minister later released the statement saying the suspension only affected the language training program and the problem would not interfere with bilateral relations.
President Jokowi's press office later tweeted Mr Wiranto's statement with the comment: "Clear and direct"
Indonesian defence expert Natalie Sambhi, a research fellow at the Perth USAsia Centre, believed some element of the suspension was certainly meant to be a reprimand to Australia because of the sensitivity of West Papua.  
"I'm curious about why the  messaging out of Indonesia was so messy, not only between the agencies but also between Gatot's office and the navy," she said.
"It suggests to me that this was always intended to be limited, in hindsight, now we think about it."


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