Australia

The diplomatic clues in the Turnbull and Widodo images

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Media captionRelations between Australia and Indonesia have been frayed in recent times

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull travelled across the short stretch of ocean to meet Indonesia's President Joko Widodo on Thursday.

Although it was part of a five-nation tour, this was a journey to mend relations after a year of diplomatic tension.

Mr Turnbull's time with Mr Widodo, leaders with contrasting characters and backgrounds, were documented in the images coming out of this meeting - they could provide clues to the themes likely to define this crucial relationship.


Strengthening ties

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Image caption President Joko Widodo took his Australian counterpart on an impromptu market tour to meet "the people"

During crucial trade talks this week, they appeared to effortlessly find common ground as they made a commitment to repair ties.

Earlier this year, the Australia's opposition said ties had reached "unprecedented strain" over asylum seeker policies too. The executions of drug traffickers Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran prompted Australia to withdraw its ambassador from Indonesia.

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Image caption The execution of two Australian drug traffickers led to a serious strain in the relationship

President Widodo acknowledged the proximity between the two nations meant a "higher the intensity of the interactions", and "higher potential for friction".

Mr Turnbull talked up the blossoming bilateral partnership focusing on economic prosperity.


Embracing the pomp

They both occupy the highest office, but the leaders come from very different backgrounds.

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Image caption Turnbull made his first visit to Indonesia since taking power, seeking to repair a key relationship strained by repeated crises under his conservative predecessor

Mr Turnbull is a multi-millionaire from one of Sydney's most exclusive suburbs, whose wife Lucy was the city's first female Lord Mayor.

Mr Widodo, commonly referred to as Jokowi, is considered an outsider after becoming the first Indonesian president not to have climbed the ranks of the political elite. He rose rapidly from humble beginnings as a furniture salesman.

Their meeting against a salubrious background was probably what Mr Turnbull can expect from all the other nations in this tour but what followed in Jakarta was a different flavour.


And embracing the people

Malcolm Turnbull became the first world leader to accompany Mr Widodo on his trademark "blusukan" walks.

He appeared to be enjoying himself, despite the heat, and obvious reservations of his security detail.

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Image caption Prime Minister Turnbull toured the Tanah Abang market - which translates to "brother land" - with President Widodo on Thursday

The duo took off their ties in a show of solidarity. But whether their performance for the cameras is the precursor to a long-lasting diplomatic friendship is yet to be proven.

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