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Jakarta decries Australian spying

By Agencies in Jakarta, Indonesia and Berlin, Germany | China Daily | Updated: 2013-11-20 06:42

Jakarta decries Australian spying

A demonstrator calls for Germany to give political asylum to former US NSA contractor Edward Snowden, outside the seat of the lower house of parliament in Berlin on Monday. Thomas Peter / Reuters

Indonesia announced on Tuesday that it is reviewing cooperation with Australia over "hurtful" claims that its president's phone was tapped, as Australia's leader issued a qualified response that stopped well short of an apology.

In a series of angry tweets, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said ties with Canberra had been damaged and "deplored" what he described as a lack of remorse on the part of the Australian prime minister.

His outrage over reports that his phone and those of his wife and ministers were targeted by Australian spies came a day after Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Marty Natalegawa said Jakarta has recalled the country's ambassador in Canberra related to the latest wiretapping reports published by Australian media.

Indonesia is "reviewing the bilateral cooperation because of Australia's hurtful action", Yudhoyono said in a tweet, referring to the accounts of spying in documents leaked by US intelligence fugitive Edward Snowden.

Indonesia and Australia are close strategic and trading partners and have traditionally worked together in many areas, including on anti-terrorism initiatives and on the sensitive issue of asylum-seekers.

"I also deplore the Australian PM's statement that wiretapping in Indonesia is considered a small thing, without any feeling of remorse," Yudhoyono said.

"The acts by the US and Australia are very damaging to their strategic partnerships with Indonesia, a fellow democratic country," he added, referring to allegations the United States has also been spying from its embassy in Jakarta.

Following the president's angry tweets, Prime Minister Tony Abbott told the Australian parliament that Yudhoyono was "one of the very best friends that we have anywhere in the world".


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