JAKARTA - Indonesia pledged not to eavesdrop on foreign leaders when it hosts a major summit later this year despite irritation over reports that its own leader was spied on when he was overseas.
Classified documents leaked last month by whistleblower Edward Snowden showed British intelligence services had used "groundbreaking intelligence capabilities" to monitor the communications of visiting world leaders at the G-20 summit in 2009, according to The Guardian daily. Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono attended that gathering.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported last week that the Australian government was among those which made use of the British intelligence on Yudhoyono and other Asian leaders.
"We must give a guarantee that such practices will not happen here in Indonesia, especially during the (upcoming) APEC summit in Bali," Marciano Norman, head of the state intelligence agency, was quoted as saying on Tuesday by the Jakarta Post daily.
The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) has 21 members including the United States, China and Russia. Britain is not a member.
"Indonesia has never had a practice of spying on visiting foreign delegates. If there's any truth to the news reports, then what the UK did is for sure completely unethical," Teuku Faizasyah, presidential spokesperson for foreign affairs, told Reuters.
"You're hosting foreign dignitaries and there should be some respect for their privacy."