Comfortably Reelected, Indonesia’s Jokowi Opens the Door to China’s Belt and Road

Indonesian President Joko Widodo, left, and Chinese President Xi Jinping shake hands at a welcome ceremony at Yanqi Lake during the Belt and Road Forum, Beijing, May 15, 2017 (Pool photo by Roman Pilipey via AP).
Indonesian President Joko Widodo, left, and Chinese President Xi Jinping shake hands at a welcome ceremony at Yanqi Lake during the Belt and Road Forum, Beijing, May 15, 2017 (Pool photo by Roman Pilipey via AP).

The ballots hadn’t even been counted yet when the deals were announced. On April 26, just two days after Election Day, Indonesia signed 23 memorandums of understanding with China, worth $14.2 billion in all, for several major infrastructure projects. They came after months of silence about Chinese investment in Indonesia—by design, as President Joko Widodo feared attempts by the opposition to paint him as being too pro-China. It worked, as, in the end, the issue of Chinese investment did not play the same divisive role in Indonesia that it did in elections in Malaysia, the Maldives and Sri Lanka. Instead, […]

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