Indonesian Ambassador to New Zealand, Tantowi Yahya on Monday (March 26, 2018) responded to the writing of Audrey Young, the political redactor of the NZ Herald. The response was issued towards Audrey Young's writing entitled "Visiting leaders show disrespect by failing to share the platform with Jacinda Ardern" published in the NZ Herald Daily on 25 March. Ambassador Tantowi Yahya stated that he had loudly protested to the redactor and urged him to make a clarification because what he wrote did not match the true reality.
Rapid steps from Ambassador Tantowi Yahya should be appreciated. Because, this could pose a misperception about President Joko Widodo. Ambassador Tantowi Yahya underlined Audrey Young's writing about the President Joko Widodo’s refusal to meet the press and to give explanation after a bilateral meeting with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Kate Laurell Ardern at Parliament House on March 19, 2018. This attitude was later translated by Audrey Young as the president’s disrespect.
Ambassador Tantowi Yahya denied the allegations, and gave an explanation of the decision not to make the press statement. This is a proposal from the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, which was then adopted into a joint decision. For public consumption, the results of the meeting will be summarized in a joint statement which will be posted on the official website of both countries. He added that Indonesia appreciates the position taken by the host, and fully supports it because there is nothing wrong with that attitude.
Indonesia through the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in Wellington has issued the joint statements. Both President Widodo and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern noted the importance of the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Indonesia and New Zealand. This is something that has to be built on a strong foundation of relationships between nations and has developed into the most valuable relationship for both countries. President Widodo's visit to New Zealand also marked an increase in bilateral relations with the comprehensive partnership.
Firm stance should indeed be taken to anyone who might pose a wrong opinion about Indonesia. Moreover, if the opinion is published in the media, this may lead to different perceptions.