July 27, 2022: -On Tuesday, Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to hold in-person talks in Beijing with his Indonesian counterpart Joko Widodo in a rare visit to Covid-wary China by a foreign head of state.
The previous time when China hosted foreign leaders was at the beginning of the Winter Olympics in February, with Russian President Vladimir Putin among those visiting Beijing in a highly guarded bubble.
Jokowi, as the Indonesian president is very known, is in Beijing this week at the invitation of Xi for what China said would be “an exchange of in-depth views.”
On Monday, Jokowi arrived in Beijing and was even scheduled to meet with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.
Traveling foreign dignitaries to China has been exceedingly rare since the new coronavirus pandemic broke out over two years ago, with Chinese borders closed mainly because of domestic Covid-19 concerns.
Xi last traveled from mainland China to Hong Kong on June 30 to mark 25 years since the former British colony yielded to Chinese rule.
Before that, Xi visited Myanmar in January 2020, his previous official trip to a foreign country.
Indonesia, one of the giant trading partners of China, is an essential source of ferronickel, coal, copper, and natural gas for the second-biggest economy in the world.
At the starting of 2022, Chinese imported from Indonesia, primarily commodities, surged 34.2% on the year, the most after Russia.
As president of the G20 this year, Jokowi sought to mend rifts within the group exposed by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
In the previous month, he met Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and took a message to President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.
Jokowi added that Indonesia was ready to be a “communication bridge” between the two leaders.
While not condemning its strategic partner Russia for the invasion, China has repeatedly reached for a cessation of hostilities and offered to help promote peace talks.
Indonesia and Russia are part of the G-20, with the former holding the group’s presidency this year. A few G-20 member states have threatened to boycott this year’s leaders’ summit on the island of Bali on Nov. 15-16 if Putin comes.