Editorial

Editorial (229)

12
September

The armed conflict in Syria doesn’t  seem to be over. Those outside Syria who have a role in the civil war still play an important role in the crisis and bloodshed. Both the government and rebel camps can no longer escape from outside influences. A summit of  Turkey, Iran and Russia in Tehran a few days ago showed how other countries were so decisive in resolving the Syrian problem. When their talks failed to produce a breakthrough, there is a possibility of continuing war. This time the focus is Idlib. Idlib is a de-escalation zone established by Iran, Turkey and Russia. These three countries have built at least 12 observation posts in the region according to the previous agreement. While the tripartite summit did not produce a definite decision regarding the fate of Idlib. Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, following the failure of the summit, has warned of the possibility of a military attack on Idlib. If that happens then more victims   will fall again on the civilians and a wave of refugees will occur. Turkey in talks in Tehran has proposed to find a solution to maintain peace in Idlib. To Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Vladimir Putin from Russia, Erdogan stressed the need to increase Turkey's role in Idlib. At the suggestion, Vlaimir Putin still argued for the need of  a crackdown. Moscow opposes the proposed ceasefire. The reason is, because there are still resistance factions that were not included in the peace talks. Putin is of the view that the Syrian Government must have strong support in order to be able regain control of all regions. From the failure of the Tripartite Summit in Tehran, it can be seen that the foreign side is very influential in resolving the bloody conflict in Syria. The different interests of foreign countries that now are implementing their influence, both on the government and the resistance or the opposition has blocked the effort to resolve the civil war in Syria. A country that was once peaceful and prosperous will still remain at a war. Not only because of differences in interests of parties in the country, but even more so, because of foreign interference. 

10
September

President Joko Widodo left for South Korea on Sunday, September 9, 2018. His visit to Seoul is the reciprocal one of South Korean President Moon Jae-In to Indonesia in 2017. Minister of Foreign Affairs, Retno Marsudi remarked that the visit of President Joko Widodo aims to strengthen economic cooperation, especially in facing the current and future global economic situation. While in Seoul, President Joko Widodo is to hold a bilateral meeting with South Korean President, Moon Jae-In, and attend the Indonesia-South Korea Business Forum and one-on-one business meeting. In addition, the governments of the two countries will sign a number of memorandums of understanding in the fields of legislation, cooperation in immigration, economy, human resources, maritime security, and the environment and forestry. South Korea is one of the top 10 countries that invest in Indonesia, such as the investment of the Korean steel giant company, Posco which has established a partnership with PT Krakatau Steel to build a large steel smelter in Cilegon, Banten. Besides, the Korean retail store network, Lotte has also been operating in Indonesia for a long time. Trade between the two countries also increased significantly, reaching almost 12 percent. The potential is quite large. In 2017, the value of trade between Indonesia and Korea reached $16.3 billion dollars. In addition to strengthening cooperation in the economic sector, President Joko Widodo's visit to South Korea this time is also to commemorate the 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Indonesia and South Korea. In addition to bilateral relations, cooperation between Indonesia and South Korea has been also established in various international forums. One of them is the MIKTA forum -Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea, Turkey and Australia, which has seven main areas of cooperation, namely fighting terrorism, trade and economy, energy, sustainable development, gender equality, peacekeeping operations, good governance and democracy. President Joko Widodo's visit to South Korea this time will also be used to provide support for the two Koreas’ peace and strengthen Indonesia's support for the peace process on the Korean Peninsula. So, it is hoped that the peace of two Koreas will be realized immediately. Hopefully, President Joko Widodo's visit to South Korea brings about positive impact and strengthens better relations between the two countries, especially in the economic, political, security and socio-cultural fields.

05
September

The leaders of China and Africa, met to discuss the future of cooperation between countries of the different continents. The meeting and discussion were held at the China Africa Cooperation Forum Summit, which took place since Monday. The aim of the summit was clearly reflected in the theme, “China and Africa: towards a stronger future community together through mutually beneficial cooperation”.Chinese President Xi Jinping in the opening ceremony presented a very persuasive speech with the title “Work Together for Common Development and a Shared Future”. Through his speech, President Xi Jinping stressed the principle of his country in cooperating with other countries including not intervening in other countries that are partners and not enforcing any political conditions. A similar theme was also announced when Africa and China started the summit in Beijing in 2006 and followed up with the second summit in 2015 at Yohanesburg, South Africa. China, as disclosed by President Xin Jinping, will carry out eight major actions to help African countries for the next 3 years. One of the eight actions is to encourage the expansion of African commodity imports and support the achievement of 2030 African food security targets. For African countries, cooperation with China is certainly very welcome. They may very well see that China is the main alternative to support their economic improvement and improvement. As one of the strongest countries in the world, the opportunity for cooperation with China gives hope of new hope for Africa as an alternative to Europe and the United States. For most African countries, increasing relations with China could have given new hope, because unlike Europe, China was not a country that had colonized the continent. For China itself, the increase and expansion of cooperation in the economic and trade sectors has become a significant factor in efforts to find a balance of multilateral cooperation. The trade war launched by the United States, which was intensified by Donald Trump's administration, has given an economic impact to the country with the most population in the Asian continent. In this perspective, the third China Africa Summit in Beijing is a new momentum especially for China in seeking a new balance in the economic field, nationally and globally.

03
September

President of Asian Olympic Council, Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah stated that Jakarta has the ability to be host of major international activities. This was expressed when delivering a speech at the closing of the 18th Asian Games on Sunday (2/9). Specifically, the recommendation was presented to the President of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach who was also present at the closing ceremony of the 2018 Asian Games. That statement certainly makes Indonesia even more proud after successfully hosting the second Asian Games. For more than two weeks, Indonesia has proven successful in 3 aspects at the 2018 Asian Games. The aspects are in terms of facility and infrastructure, achievements and hosting. The success of organizing the 2018 Asian Games becomes  capital for Indonesia to nominate itself as host of 2032 Olympics. The wish to be host has been stated by President Joko Widodo to the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach at Bogor Palace last Saturday. The 2018 Asian Games have left a lot of valuable things. 94 arenas of competition and training have been built and renovated to meet international standards. Jakarta International Veledrome, for example, is considered to be one of the best in the world. Another valuable relic is the positive behavior of Indonesian people. The enthusiasm of the Indonesian people to witness 465 match numbers has encouraged more than 11,000 athletes from 45 countries to compete and achieve the best. The enthusiasm and dedication were also shown by volunteers who have worked sincerely and wholeheartedly. Vice President Jusuf Kalla, in his remarks at the closing of the Asian Games, thanked for the volunteers with their hospitality made the athletes feel at home. The success of organizing the 2018 Asian Games can be a special note for Indonesia to host the 2032 Olympics. At least, that was revealed by the President of the International Olympiad Committee, Thomas Bach. He revealed the success of the 2018 Asian Games is a strong foundation. The thing that impressed him was the people of Indonesia. According to him, Indonesia has shown a great combination of friendliness and efficiency at the same time. He added that it was the Olympics. The Olympics is about humans, perfection and friendship. Another note that can become Indonesia's capital as the host of the 2032 Olympics is the ability to present spectacular opening and closing events. At the opening, Indonesia showed the richness and diversity of Indonesian culture, and at the closing ceremony, the nuances of Asian diversity were gracefully exhibited. The capital owned by Indonesia can be a special record for the Committee of International Olympic. Because Indonesia has succeeded in making Asian energy and enthusiasm inexhaustible. Indonesia has grown the real energy of Asia, and united to bring goodness to the world. Hopefully, Indonesia's wish to host the 2032 Olympics can be realized. So,  the world community feels Indonesia's beauty. As said by Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, Indonesia, You're Great!

31
August

European Union -EU and Iranian relations after the United States left the joint Nuclear Agreement do not appear to be getting closer. Earlier after United States President Donald Trump decided not to continue the Nuclear Agreement with Iran, the European Union sought to be  unable to be consistent with the previous stance. One of the European Union member countries that started to stay away from Iran is France. In an internal order, the French government asked its foreign ministry diplomats and officials to postpone indefinitely all unimportant trips to Iran. The plan of a bomb attack on protests by Iranian opposition groups near Paris, and a change in Tehran's attitude, are the causes of a change in France's stance  towards Iran. France is one of the countries supporting Iran's nuclear agreement in 2015. With  other European countries, it  tried to help Iran ease the impact of US sanctions. Iran's economy, which has improved, is now hit by the imposition of US sanctions. After no longer receiving support from the European Union, Iran is also ready to issue a statement to be  no longer committed to the Nuclear Agreement. Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei stressed Iran is ready to abandon the agreement. Even, Iran does not hesitate to end  the agreement it if is no longer in line with the country’s  interests. According to Khamenei, Iran should not depend on Europe despite promises from Europe. In addition to outside pressure, President Mohamad Khatami is also facing a crisis, because Iranian Parliament has sacked the Minister of Labor and Finance. There are still two ministers who will face the same fate. The world witnessed a way out when the United States and Europe signed a Nuclear Joint Agreement with Iran. But now, the hope of solving this problem is getting further away. If left unchecked, problems in the Middle East region will be increasingly complicated. Of course, this is not expected to occur.

29
August

Indonesia's closest southeastern neighbor, Australia, has a new Head of Government. The country is now led by a new Prime Minister, Scott Morrison who replaced Malcolm Turnbull through an internal election of the ruling Liberal Party.  The substitution made Australia the country that most often changes Prime Minister in a relatively short time. In about eight years, the Prime Minister in Australia has changed five times. Nevertheless, it must be noted that the change of leadership has taken place in a peaceful atmosphere without turmoil and riots. The series of Prime Minister changes began when Kevin Rudd of the Australian Labor Party defeated John Howard of the Liberal Party. After just ruling for about 3 years, Rudd was replaced by Julia Gilard, who was his own deputy. Julia Gulard won a vote carried out inside the Labor party which was then in power in Parliament. The internal upheaval of the Labor party happened again, about 3 years later there was another internal turmoil in the Labor Party which encouraged the election of the Leader. In Labor Party internal voting, Kevin Rudd was re-elected and therefore became the Prime Minister again for the second time. For political reasons, Kevin Rudd then dissolved Parliament which resulted in the holding of the Federal Election in 2013. Through the elections the majority of voters supported the Liberal Party which made Tonny Abott the 28th Australian Prime Minister. About two years in power due to internal conflicts of the Liberal party, Abbott was challenged by one of the Ministers, Malcolm Turnbull in an internal vote until Turnbull finally won the majority of the votes and became prime minister. It wasn't until three years later, Trunbull seemed to taste his own medicine after  his political intrigue of toppling  Tony Abbot. Five days ago,  in an internal vote he was overthrown by one of his  ministers, Scott Morrisson. It seems that for Australia the frequent change of Prime Minister is no longer considered extraordinary. The law of  the country allows to  change the Prime Minister before the term of office expires, insofar as the internal ruling Party agrees. The party's internal coup  anyway, did not cause turmoil in the community. However,  as an observer said, the change in the reins of government can be seen as  an internal instability of the ruling Party, whether it’s  the Labor Party or the Liberal Party. As the closest neighbor, Indonesia certainly monitors developments in Australia. Because after all the change of each leader will certainly have an impact on policy changes, including the perspective and foreign policy of Australia. Time has noted that the relations between Indonesia and Australia had experienced ups and downs. Australia's new Prime Minister, Scott Morrsion, for instance,  had caused controversy when he was still serving as Immigration minister in 2014. He caused the relationship between Australia and Indonesia heated up. His policy of repatriating asylum seekers made the Indonesian people angry  for forcibly repatriating two Indonesian immigrants. Indonesia  is  still looking forward to how the new Australian Prime Minister who  BBC UK calls a pragmatic figure will act.

27
August

Indonesian nation and Asian sports’ enthusiasts are still focusing their attention on the 2018 Asian Games. There are several days left to the end of the 18th Asian Games. A number of countries have obtained half of the 462 gold medals. The People’s Republic of China dominates the achievement of gold medals. Various records have been made during the event. For example, the Japanese swimming team broke a new record at the 2018 Asian Games with 3 minutes 3.54 seconds on the 4x100 meter women’s medley relay category. Weightlifting sports category also engraved another world record at the 2018 Asian Games. Iranian athlete, Sohrab Moradi successfully lifted 189 kilograms defeating the 188 kilograms record made by Greece’s athlete, Akakios Kakiasvilis in 1999. Indonesian people, particularly in Jakarta and Palembang greatly express their attention to Indonesian athletes. Sense of pride is getting sharpened in them. The pride is due to not only the success of hosting a spectacular opening ceremony inviting positive reactions from the international world, but also the achievement of gold medals approaching the targeted number, namely 16 gold medals. Until the 9th day, Sunday (26th of August) Indonesian contingents have contributed 12 gold medals. Muhammad Sejahtera Dwi Putra also won silver medal on the shooting category. This is the first medal received by Indonesia on the shooting category since its last time in 1966. By the achievement of those medals, currently       Indonesia is one the 10 biggest countries at the event. One target has been achieved. The next one is to fulfill the target of 16 gold medals. Should Indonesia be satisfied with the number of the medals it accomplished? Especially, the achievement has surpassed the quantity of medals obtained in 2014. At the 17th Asian Games, Indonesia could only gain 4 gold medals, 5 silver medals, and 11 bronze medals. To strive for better result, one should not be quickly satisfied. Likewise, Indonesian contingents should not be satisfied with their achievements at the 2018 Asian Games. However, at least their efforts and hard work done for the past 4 years have led to progress. Until last night, Indonesia has achieved 12 gold medals, 12 silver medals, and 24 bronze medals. Indonesian contingents have dedicated their best to contribute medals for Indonesia. Moreover, Indonesian contingents received many supports from a lot of parties. Take for example as a tribute to Indonesian athletes, Indonesian Ministry of Youth and Sports attended matches to give support for the athletes. Even, President Joko Widodo also attended several final rounds. The supports will ignite the spirit of Indonesian athletes to compete at the competitions. The progress achieved by Indonesian contingents has encouraged the sense of pride of Indonesian people toward the organizing of the 2018 Asian Games. The success of presenting a remarkable opening ceremony, being an incredible host, and producing outstanding achievements will mark new history for the organizing of the Asian Games. Hopefully, the achievements gained at the 18th Asian Games will encourage Indonesian athletes to foster better achievement in the future. There are still a lot of sport events that Indonesia should participate in such as the 2020 Olympiad. The remarkable achievements at the 2018 Asian Games is expected to motivate Indonesia to be the leader in Asia, just like the record established at the 1962 Asian Games when Indonesia stood on the second place. We hope Indonesian sports will continue to improve better.

24
August

After prolonged conflict and avoidance of direct meeting with the Afghan government, finally with the Russian initiative, the Taliban is willing to carry out negotiation. Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov said that he had invited the Taliban and confirmed that the Taliban will meet with Kabul government in Moscow on September 4. This Russian initiative is aimed to solve not only the problem in Afghanistan, but also as part of Moscow's efforts to protect the interests of its citizens in Afghanistan. However, the presence of the Taliban is not without conditions. The Taliban still wants the United States to attend the meeting. Russia said that in addition to the two conflicting parties, it would also invite China, Pakistan, India, Iran and the United States. The crisis in Afghanistan should have been resolved a long time ago if the Taliban did not insist that they only want to negotiate with the United States. Even today, they are still reluctant to negotiate with the Kabul government. There is a change in attitude from the Taliban.  They complied with the ceasefire proposed by Kabul during Idul Fitri. Last Sunday (August 19, 2018), the Afghan government offered again a ceasefire to the Taliban until the upcoming Prophet's birthday celebration. Now, hope is beginning to arise with the Taliban's willingness to negotiate with the Afghan Government. Currently, the Taliban actually have begun to open themselves with outsiders through their political office in Qatar. Even, Taliban representatives also reportedly met with a senior official of the US Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Alice Wells. Although the meeting was not publicly admitted by the US. The United States argues that there is no resolution to the Afghan problem without involving the Kabul government. Although the planned meeting will take place several days to come, it is a piece of hope for the realization of peace in Afghanistan. Indonesia has also attempted to arrange a meeting for both conflicting parties some time ago. Is it possible that the meeting will take place in Indonesia and continue to Moscow? And finally, both sides will obtain resolution to stop the 17-year conflict and start the reconciliation step. Let’s see and wait next outcome of the meeting in early September.

23
August

LOMBOK REVIVED

Since the first earthquake 6.4 on Richter scale to 6.9 SR on August 19 on Lombok Island and surrounding areas has caused more than 500 people killed, more than 400 thousand people displaced, and more than 74 thousand units of houses were damaged. The estimated loss would reach Rp 7.7 trillion.

Seeing the impact of the Lombok earthquake, many parties proposed that the situation has to be declared a national disaster. However, the government considers that this is not necessary to decide the Lombok disaster as a national disaster. Then, a lot of people have questioned the government's policy.

Regarding the polemic, Head of the Information Data Center and Public Relations of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency -BNPB, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho explained the matter of determining national disaster. The determination must be based on five main variables: the number of victims, loss of property, damage to infrastructure and facilities, wide coverage of areas affected by disasters, and the socio-economic impacts.

Sutopo believes that the indicators are not enough. There are fundamental indicators that are difficult to measure -the condition of the existence and function of the regional government whether it is collapsed or not. The 2004 Aceh tsunami was designated as a national disaster at that time because the regional government, both provincial and district/city, including the central elements in Aceh such as the Kodam and the Regional Police was totally paralyzed. The government later declared the national disaster. The risk is that all tasks of the regional government are taken over by the central government, including the general government.

With the existence of national disaster status, the door is open as wide as possible for international humanitarian assistance by other countries and the international community. This is a consequence of the Geneva Convention. New problems related to international assistance often arise, because it involves political, economic, social, cultural, defense and security matters. So, there are consequences if the Indonesian government determines the national disaster status. Sutopo added, since the 2004 Aceh tsunami until now, there has been no disaster in Indonesia which has been declared a national disaster. Because, the Indonesian people have learned a lot from the experience of handling the 2004 Aceh tsunami.

Indeed, disasters with casualties are quite likely to be discouraged that the central government establishes a national disaster. Many parties may not understand the disaster management as a whole, including determining the status and level of the disaster. They assume that with national disaster status, there will be easy access to national resources. But the fact is that even without national disaster status, the government has mobilized all national resources. A lot of personnel from central elements such as Indonesian Armed Forces -TNI, National Police -Polri, National SAR Agency -Basarnas, and related state ministries have been deployed on the hit locations. Huge logistical assistance from the government agencies and community has also been sent to Lombok.

The Indonesian nation must be united. Disasters are humanitarian affairs. Let’s get rid of differences in ideology, politics, religion, and others to help the disaster victims. The Lombok community needs the help of all parties. National energy must be united to help the people of Lombok. Without the status of the national disaster, the Lombok disaster is also the disaster of Indonesian nation.

22
August

The 2018 Asian Games have succeeded in bringing together two Koreas, namely North Korea and South Korea in the spirit of sportsmanship in the Asian Games. The Indonesian people certainly should be happy with what has happened. The two Korean contingents went hand in hand during the athletes parade. From the faces of the athletes can be seen  a reflection of happiness. The 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia, is taking  place along with a series of diplomatic efforts, including those carried out by the United States and North Korea. Starting from the Summit in Singapore, North Korea and the United States continued diplomatic efforts. Follow-up meetings have been conducted not only in the context of denuclearization of North Korea but towards the reconciliation of the two Koreas. This week there was also a touching event, some  South Koreans made a visit  to North Korea to meet their long lost family members. The senior Koreans were separated and live in different places  due to the civil war that occurred at the end of the second world war. Indonesia is recorded in history related to the unification and reconciliation of the people  which have been separated,  even fought each other. In the 80s for instance,  Indonesia had become the initiator of the unification of Cambodia. The Jakarta Informal Meeting among the warring factions was held in Bogor, West Java in the Suharto era. It was continued with further meetings and ended very well with the unification of Cambodia. Reflecting on historical experience, the momentum of the 2018 Asian Games held in Jakarta is a good time to contribute to the reconciliation of the two Koreas. As a good host, Indonesia can make the Asian Games a momentum for realization of  lasting peace in the Korean Peninsula.

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