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Indonesia President Joko Widodo in ‘tough spot’ to unite G20 leaders: Analysts

As Indonesia’s G20 presidency comes to an end, analysts said Mr Widodo is under pressure to demonstrate a successful legacy and leadership, while maintaining the country’s desire to unite the bloc amid growing geopolitical tensions.

Indonesia President Joko Widodo in ‘tough spot’ to unite G20 leaders: Analysts
Indonesian President Joko Widodo not only has to ensure that the G20 summit runs smoothly, but also that world leaders will all agree to come to the table and engage in productive discussion. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

BALI, Indonesia: Indonesian President Joko Widodo will find himself in a tough spot in his bid to unite the world, as his country hosts a meeting of global leaders this week amid the Russia-Ukraine war, post-pandemic global uncertainties, and food and energy crises. 

As Indonesia’s Group of Twenty (G20) presidency comes to an end, analysts said Mr Widodo is under pressure to demonstrate a successful legacy and leadership, while maintaining the country’s desire to unite the bloc. 

The G20 - a group of the world's largest economies that make up more than 80 per cent of global gross domestic product (GDP) - is meeting in Bali this week. 

However, geopolitical issues - from the fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to growing tensions between China and the West - have threatened to overshadow the high-profile economic forum.

CHOOSING THE MIDDLE PATH

International relations lecturer I Made Anom Wiranata from the Udayana University’s Faculty of Social and Political Science, said: “If President Widodo acts according to the will of the United States and other countries, he will be seen as a weak leader. On the other hand, he will not be considered as a president who keeps quiet about what is happening in Ukraine.”

So, the Indonesian president has chosen the middle path, he said. “Because after all, if the G20 activities were boycotted by one country, it would be a ‘slap’ to the host.”

Mr Widodo has been laying out the groundwork for a successful G20 summit, with preparations starting well in advance.

Author I Nyoman Darma Putra, said: “Several months ago, when President Jokowi went to Russia and Ukraine, the situation got even more complicated. There was a war, there was a pandemic. 

“Now it appears everything is running as if it was normal. So the preparations that were done before were very important.”

CATALYST FOR GLOBAL ECONOMIC RECOVERY

Mr Widodo has on several occasions said the momentum of Indonesia’s G20 presidency must be a catalyst for global economic recovery and that multilateralism is the most effective way to face common challenges.

At a recent G20 side event, he reiterated the need to set aside differences and work together towards economic recovery. 

“In overcoming common problems, we must work together, we must lower our individual egos,” he said. 

“We must strive to overcome differences, multiply and strengthen common ground to encourage the recovery of the world economy and resolve the crisis more effectively.” 

Source: CNA/ca(ja)

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