Indonesia’s Jokowi, China’s Xi to meet in Beijing next week, discuss G20

Dandy Koswaraputra and Alvin Prasetyo
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Indonesia’s Jokowi, China’s Xi to meet in Beijing next week, discuss G20 Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo speaks to China’s President Xi Jinping during a photo session in front of Osaka Castle at the G-20 summit, in Osaka, Japan, June 28, 2019.
[Tomohiro Ohsumi/Pool via Reuters]

Indonesia’s president will visit China next week where he and his Chinese counterpart will discuss the G20 summit later this year, Beijing said Thursday, as Jakarta performs a tricky balancing act amid rifts between the West and Russia over the Ukraine war.

Joko “Jokowi” Widodo visited the two warring neighbors last month, in what officials said was a bid to broker peace and stem a global food crisis.

On July 26, he will kick off a tour of China, Japan and South Korea – all members of the Group of Twenty countries – with an in-person meeting in Beijing with Chinese President Xi Jinping, who rarely has hosted foreign leaders since the coronavirus pandemic broke out in late 2019.

“During his visit, President Joko Widodo will communicate with Chinese leaders face-to-face regarding the G20 Summit to discuss ways to respond to pressing global challenges, demonstrate solidarity and coordination among major developing countries, channel more positive energy to post-COVID global economic development and make more new contribution to promoting global equity and justice,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters at a press briefing.

He praised “Indonesia’s constructive role” as this year’s holder of the G20’s rotating chair. In November, Jokowi will host the group’s annual summit of G20 leaders in Bali.

“President Joko Widodo is the first foreign head of state to visit China since the Beijing Olympic Winter Games, and China will be the first stop on his first trip to East Asia since the onset of COVID-19,” Wang said.

Widodo and Xi will have an “in-depth exchange of views” on bilateral relations and major regional and international issues, Wang added.

On July 27, Jokowi will leave for Tokyo and end his Northeast Asian tour in Seoul on July 28, Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi told reporters in a statement.

The G20 is split over Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine that Moscow calls a “special military operation.” Western G20 members have condemned Russia for the invasion but other member-states, including China, Indonesia and India, have refused to follow suit and still maintain ties with Moscow.

Proactive communication with G20 members

Ramdhan Muhaimin, an international relations lecturer at Al Azhar University Indonesia, said Jokowi wanted to iron out divisions among G20 members over Russia’s participation at the upcoming summit.

“I think this visit is also in that context that Indonesia is building very proactive communication with G20 members outside of formal meetings,” Ramdhan said.

Western countries, led by the United States, have called on Russia to be disinvited from G20 meetings, including the summit, but Indonesia has refused to do so. Jakarta has instead invited Ukraine, which is not a G20 member, to attend meetings and the summit as a guest.

“Indonesia wants to show both the international public and the Indonesian people it is successful in organizing the G20 summit amid the Russia-Ukraine crisis,” Agus Haryanto, an analyst at Jenderal Soedirman University in Purwokerto, told BenarNews.

“With respect to the G20, although the foreign ministers’ meeting [this month] was a relative success, Indonesia is still trying to make sure that the G20 summit of heads of state is also successful.”

At the group’s foreign ministers’ meeting in Bali earlier this month, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov walked out – at least once – during what he called the “frenzied castigation” of Moscow over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Retno, the chief diplomat of host-country Indonesia, said participants at the G20 foreign ministers’ meeting were deeply concerned about the Ukrainian conflict’s “global impact on food, energy and finance.”

Both countries are known as the world’s breadbaskets.

Since Moscow invaded its smaller neighbor, Russian military forces have blocked all of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports and cut off access to almost all of that country’s exports – especially of grain – sparking fears of a global food crisis. 

Jokowi, who visited Kyiv and Moscow in late June, on a trip he described as a peace mission, has warned that a global food crisis caused by the war would send people in developing and poor countries into “the abyss of extreme poverty and hunger.”


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