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Asia Minute: Indonesian president on the road for summits in East Asia

Indonesian President Joko Widodo, left, and Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida 072722
Kiyoshi Ota/AP
Pool Bloomberg
Indonesian President Joko Widodo, left, and Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida meet at the prime minister's official residence in Tokyo Wednesday, July 27, 2022. (Kiyoshi Ota/Pool Photo via AP)

The president of Indonesia is on the road in Asia this week. After starting in China, he was in Japan Wednesday before heading to South Korea.

Diplomacy and money are themes of this week’s trip of Indonesian President Joko Widodo to East Asia.

On Tuesday in Beijing, he became the first foreign leader to meet China’s President Xi Jinping in person since the city hosted the Winter Olympics in February.

China is Indonesia’s top trade partner and number three in foreign direct investment in the country, trailing only Singapore and Hong Kong.

Indonesia currently chairs the Group of 20, and Widodo invited Xi to attend the November leaders’ meeting in person on the island of Bali. It’s not clear whether Xi will go.

Economics is also on the agenda for Widodo’s meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. That includes direct investment and potential cooperation in renewable energy and electric vehicles.

The G-20 summit: another topic — both in Tokyo and Seoul.

Widodo wraps up his travels in South Korea, which has moved ahead of Japan when it comes to direct investment in Indonesia.

Beyond diplomacy and economics, the leaders of the two countries will also likely discuss a joint fighter jet program that’s been in the works for years.

South Korea says the Jakarta government hasn’t paid its full part of the project.

The Korea Times quotes a senior official as saying “the payment issue is anticipated to be discussed during the summit.”

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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