Deteriorating diplomatic ties have turned to anger in Indonesia as Australia refuses to apologize over claims it tapped the phones of Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, his wife and other senior politicians.
“CrushAustralia” (#GanyangAustralia) was a trending term on Twitter on Wednesday as Yudhoyono held an emergency meeting with his foreign minister and Indonesia’s ambassador to Australia, who was recalled from the country on Monday.
“Rather than cracking down on street thugs, better have them trained to be reserve troops and send them to #CrushAustralia,” read one tweet:
Daripada sibuk ngurusin dan Merazia Preman. mending dididik supaya jadi tentara cadangan. dan kirim aja buat #GanyangAustralia
— cahya nugraha (@cukupcahya) November 20, 2013
Read another: “If Australia keeps snooping, better Indonesia not to have any ties with Australia. Eliminate.”
Others said Australia needed a “stern warning,” and that “dignity and sovereignty are not negotiable.”
Meanwhile, Indonesian nationalist demonstrators in the city of Yogyakarta burnt an Australian flag in front of the governor’s palace, reported Metro TV. The protestors demanded Australia’s apology and asked the Indonesian President to sever diplomatic ties with Canberra.
On Wednesday, Australia’s intelligence agencies promised to stop monitoring Indonesian phones, and said it would not carry out surveillance in the future. But it’s a step that’s unlikely to be enough to appease the Indonesians who want a full apology.
In the meantime, the country’s Foreign Minister says Indonesia has begun “downgrading” ties with Australia. Jakarta announced Wednesday it was suspending joint military operations it has with Australia, including programs to stop people-smuggling and terrorism.
Indonesian President Yudhoyono sent a series of snarky tweets in English on Tuesday after his Australian counterpart Tony Abbott said that he regrets “any embarrassment recent media reports have caused” but added that Australia should not be expected to apologize for steps it takes to protect its country.
“I also regret the statement of Australian Prime Minister that belittled this tapping matter on Indonesia, without any remorse,” Yudhoyono said. He said that Australia had “damaged” its relationship with Indonesia over its “hurtful action”.
I also regret the statement of Australian Prime Minister that belittled this tapping matter on Indonesia, without any remorse. *SBY*
— S.B. Yudhoyono (@SBYudhoyono) November 19, 2013
In Australia, commentators have told media outlets that relations haven’t been this bad between the two countries since the break off of East Timor from Indonesia or when West Papuan refugees were given asylum in Australia.
Australia will be the “most unpopular country in Indonesia for some time,” an Asian politics expert, Greg Fearly, told Fairfax.
The Guardian and the ABC published reports that the Australian government attempted to tap the personal phones of President Yudhoyono, his wife and other senior politicians in 2009.
—With reporting by Yenni Kwok
Australia ternyata bukan tetangga yg baik…sepertinya siluman dunia maya kita akan bertindak tuh.. #ganyangaustralia
— dio_ (@dioSEVTIANO) November 19, 2013
“Turns out Australia isn’t a good neighbor… Like a ghost in virtual world, we will take action #CrushAustralia”
Sy pikir emang nih negara udh perlu dikasih peringatan keras supaya utk negara seperti ini jgn main2 dengan Indonesia…..#GanyangAustralia
— Hermawan (@hermawan_gbs) November 20, 2013
“I think this country needs stern warning so that it won’t play a joke with Indonesia #CrushAustralia”