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Indonesian President visits Wellington, talks of coffee diplomacy

indonesian-and-patsy
Photo: Government House

Report from RNZ
Indonesian President Joko Widodo today paid his respects at the tomb of the unknown soldier in Wellington.

President Widodo received a 21-gun salute at Government House in Wellington this morning, before laying a wreath at the Pukeahu National War Memorial Park.

He was met by a lone protester repeatedly yelling “Free West Papua”.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has been urged to raise the issue of West Papua, which had been fighting for independence from Indonesia, in her meeting with Mr Widodo this afternoon.

Mr Widodo and his wife Ibu Iriana Joko Widodo were greeted at Pukeahu by Defence Minister Ron Mark, former chief of navy Rear Admiral David Ledson, Chief of Army Major General Peter Kelly and Air Vice Marshall Robin Klitscher. He laid a wreath on the sanctuary steps in the Hall of Memories. A minute’s silence was held, following a reading of the Ode of Remembrance.

Later, in a short address before the state lunch with Governor General Dame Patsy Reddy, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters, Mr Widodo said he had been delighted to learn how much New Zealanders love one of Indonesia’s key exports.

“With my background as a businessman when I see how much New Zealand people like coffee I immediately think Indonesia has to export more coffee to New Zealand.

“Indonesia is one of the top coffee producers in the world we have so many choices – starting with Bali coffee, Sumatra coffee, Java coffee….each of these coffees have a unique taste.”

Mr Widodo joked coffee diplomacy may come to define bilateral relations between New Zealand and Indonesia and also poked fun at another Kiwi phenomenon, saying he was very happy to visit the this “beautiful country” with all its sheep.