Indonesia in brief
Major cities: Surabaya, Bandung, Bekasi, Medan
Official language: Indonesian
Population: About 256 million
Religion: Majority Muslim
Area: 735,358 square miles
Number of Korean expats: About 41,000 (2015)
The first consular office of Indonesia opened in Seoul in 1966 and became a full-fledged embassy in September 1973. The first Indonesian ambassador to the Republic of Korea was three-star Army Gen. Sarwo Edhie Wibowo, the father-in-law of former Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
At its peak in 2012, bilateral trade totaled $31 billion. Indonesia’s main export items to Korea include coal, rubber, natural gas, pulp wood and coffee. Korean exports to the island nation are mostly machinery, electronics and other industrial products. Over the past few years, Indonesia has purchased three submarines, one jet trainer and a myriad of other military defense equipment. Bilateral trade has recently gone down to below $20 billion, mainly due to a sharp decline in commodity prices.
Based on data from the past five years, Korea is the fifth-largest source of foreign direct investment in Indonesia, exceeding $7.5 billion in various industries including tire manufacturing, steel, electronics, textiles and garments. Recently, some Korean banks have also expanded operations in Indonesia by way of acquiring some local banks.
In 1981, Alexandra Prasetio founded Tritunggal Kania Utama, a Jakarta-based company specializing in project planning, interior, architecture and design. The company has designed and installed many projects in Indonesia since its inception in commercial, banking and residential sectors for both international and local clientele. The residential development division encompasses resorts, hotels, apartment complexes and real estate in Indonesia and abroad. In 2015, Prasetio became an honorary professor at Sookmyung Women’s University after teaching two semesters there on Indonesia. She is an avid member of six organizations: the Ambassadors Spouses’ Association in Seoul, the Garden Club, Planting Love, Seoul International Women’s Association, Korean Red Cross and the Gourmet Club.
Before his appointment as ambassador to Korea in October 2012, John Prasetio was the founder and chairman of CBA Consulting Group; a board member of PT Bank Permata Tbk and PT Sarana Menara Nusantara Tbk; and an advisory panel member of P&G Indonesia, Crowe Horwath Indonesia and Mitsui Indonesia. He also served as a member of the special staff of the minister of industry, the presidential National Economic Council, the National Committee on Good Governance, the Investment Committee of the Investment Coordinating Board; and was an advisory board member of the Association of Publicly Listed Companies, the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the UN Executive Secretary Member States Secretariat Programme Business Advisory Council, the National Foster Parents Movement and the World Wide Fund for Nature.