Danish prime minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen spoke to Channel NewsAsia about his decision to give Indonesian president Joko "Jokowi" Widodo a METALLICA "Master Of Puppets" box set during a recent diplomatic state visit. Confirming that the box set was "signed by Lars Ulrich, the drummer who originally invented METALLICA," Rasmussen said that he chose the gift "because I have heard that the Indonesian president is truly a METALLICA fan and a heavy metal fan. And, you know, instead of just giving him a nice Royal Copenhagen [porcelain dish] or whatever, I thought I would give him something he would really appreciate. So you can call it the 'hard rock diplomacy.' China has 'panda diplomacy,' so we invented the 'hard rock diplomacy.'"
Since the gift technically constitutes a form of gratification, it must legally be reported to the Indonesia's Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), according to Coconuts Jakarta.
The law is to prevent politicians from receiving gifts that could be considered a form of bribery.
Back in May 2013, Widodo was forced by KPK to turn over his autographed METALLICA bass guitar to the government, while authorities determined whether the instrument was merely a gift or a violation of ethics rules. Widodo received the bass from METALLICA bassist Robert Trujillo, but had to give it up to the state within 30 days, according to laws regarding gifts to state officials.
Rasmussen presented Jokowi with the "Master Of Puppets" box set during a state visit on November 28 at the Bogor Palace in Indonesia. In return, Jokowi, gave Rasmussen a rencong (traditional dagger from Aceh).
Ulrich said he was thrilled Jokowi had accepted the gift. "This is way cool… I signed [a 'Master Of Puppets'] box set for Danish prime minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen to give to Indonesian president Joko Widodo who is well known as a huge fan of rock music and came to see us in Jakarta in '13," Lars wrote on Instagram. "Music really does connect people!"
The 56-year-old Widodo, who served as governor of Jakarta before being elected president in 2014, attended METALLICA's August 2013 concert in the city — 25 years to the day after the release of the band's fourth album, "…And Justice For All", and more than 20 years after their tumultuous first show in Indonesia.
Widodo has also professed love for other heavy metal bands like MEGADETH, LAMB OF GOD and NAPALM DEATH in the past.
"We invented hard rock diplomacy," says Denmark's Prime Minister on giving Indonesia President Joko Widodo a Metallica box set. Catch the Conversation With interview https://t.co/0v3ePwcmgo pic.twitter.com/eOiiO75CKi
— Channel NewsAsia (@ChannelNewsAsia) December 16, 2017
Indonesia’s president @jokowi seemed eager to dig into his diplomatic gift from Denmark: A #MasterOfPuppets box signed by #heavymetal fans’ all-time favorit drummer @larsulrich @metallica pic.twitter.com/Epcq2paywh
— Lars Løkke Rasmussen (@larsloekke) November 28, 2017