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Indonesian president steps onto world stage as G20 host

Getting from Jakarta to Kyiv is not easy. Traveling when Ukraine is a war zone is even more complicated.

yet Joko Widodo, President of Indonesia and organizer of next week’s G20 summit, along with his wife, embarked on an 11-hour night train journey from Poland to the Ukrainian capital in the midst of war to see Ukraine’s response Not only did he personally deliver the invitation to Volodymyr Zelensky. It also attended his G7 summit in Germany and a trip to Russia to invite Vladimir Putin to Bali as part of his five-day diplomatic trip this summer.

In office since 2014, “Djokowi,” as he is known in his country, has rarely been seen on the world stage.But his determination to succeed G20 On a tropical holiday island, a former small-town furniture maker known for his outsider-style politics has turned away from his customary taciturnity.

Weeks after visiting Europe, Widodo became the first coach to visit China since the Beijing Winter Olympics. This time, we invited President Xi Jinping. to the summit. The trip also included stops in Japan and South Korea.

A flurry of diplomatic activity ushered in a new era of global participation for the world’s fourth most populous country.

“Indonesia will emerge as a much more shrewd player in foreign policy through this process,” says Kevin, a Jakarta-based domestic political and economic analyst and principal at consultancy Reformasi Information Services. says O’Rourke.

Putin decided this week to send a foreign minister in his place, but Mr Widodo’s non-confrontational footwork is what most other leaders have at a time of war and unprecedented geopolitical tensions. 17 leaders are scheduled to attend Bali’s room next week after telling Widodo that they will be there even if the Russian president attends. is.

This was in the first few weeks after Putin’s invasion, when some Western officials proposed banning Russia’s participation from the G20 or boycotting the forum if Moscow sent a delegation. So it shows that things have improved.

Widodo’s decision to invite Putin instead of excluding him Zelensky It helped persuade Western leaders. In June, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said she opposed “paralyzing the entire G20” as a result of war.

“The G20 is too important for both developing and emerging nations, and we must not allow this institution to collapse under President Putin.

But Widodo’s concern not to take sides is also an obstacle. “It will be a nightmare for Indonesia, because we don’t want to hurt anyone,” said Christoph Huisgen, chairman of the Munich Security Council. “There is a lot of pressure in the host role in terms of managing all the different expectations.”

“And it will be difficult for Indonesia, which has always been proud to be part of the Non-Aligned Group,” said former German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s foreign and security policy adviser from 2005 to 2017. Added Huisgen, who was there. He has attended multiple G20 summits.

and Interview with the Financial Times Widodo, who is entering his second and final term as president this week, also expressed frustration at the G20 being treated as a political arena rather than an economic and development one.

“The idea of ​​somehow separating geopolitics and geoeconomics feels a little naive,” said one Western policymaker.

Others were more outspoken. “Indonesians are really angry with us,” said a senior official from the Western G20 delegation. “They feel they stand with us at the United Nations on Russia, but we don’t allow other parts on Russia. [Widodo’s] An agenda that passes through the G20 because of its focus on Russia. ”

“We need to focus on the boring stuff,” said a Western official.

Indonesia has highlighted issues such as food security and the creation of a pandemic preparedness fund as priorities for the summit.

Widodo’s rigor of taking no sides has served its purpose of getting most member states into the G20, but it is also risky and could even hurt Indonesia.

“The story is ‘We tried. said Evan Laksmana, senior fellow at the National University of Singapore.

Widodo’s headaches are similar to those faced by previous G20 hosts.

At the summit meeting held in Brisbane in November 2014, Russia announced its invasion of Crimea in February of the same year. Putin went home a day early He was harassed by Western leaders at bilateral meetings and given the cold shoulder by others.

Five years later in Osaka, then-U.S. President Donald Trump provided a number of embarrassing moments: Inserting daughter Ivanka into the meeting with confused leaders. Trump also praised Putin for being tough on journalists and insulted Germany and his Japanese hosts, which depend on the United States for defense and security.

Indonesia still hopes the summit can bring economic benefits and boost recovery. Domestically, Bali’s revival is already seen as a triumph.

But ultimately the summit’s success will hinge on geopolitics. Widodo’s vibrant foreign politics set the stage for historic talks and brought Indonesia long-sought global prominence.

However, it is highly unlikely that a joint communiqué will be issued at the end of the Summit. The outcome of the meeting between US President Joe Biden and Xi Jinping is similar. First face-to-face meeting as a leaderbefore the summit.

“I think they’re happy to come to a conclusion . . . this is not in their hands,” Huisgen said. “It’s in the hands of the Americans, the Chinese and the Russians.”

https://www.ft.com/content/5c3a481c-68a6-422a-9dd0-79009a6d2632 Indonesian president steps onto world stage as G20 host

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