The Jakarta Post
President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo showcased a new face of Indonesia before Asian and African leaders on Wednesday by delivering a strong yet straightforward speech criticizing inequality resulting from the unjust West-led world.
During the opening of the 2015 Asian-African Summit, Jokowi challenged the West, slamming rich nations for global inequality.
Jokowi lashed out on Wednesday with harsh criticism of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB), saying that the institutions had failed to deliver solutions for the global economy.
'Views stating the world's economy can only be resolved by the World Bank, IMF and ADB are outdated and need to be thrown away,' said Jokowi.
'When the rich nations, which comprise a mere 20 percent of world's population, consume 70 percent of world resources, then global injustice becomes real,' he said.
Present at the opening were representatives of 106 Asian and African nations, 21 of whom were heads of state and government, including Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
'When hundreds enjoy the lives of the super rich, while more than 1.2 billion people in the southern hemisphere struggle with less than US$2 per day, then global injustice becomes real,' Jokowi said to the applause of the audience.
Jokowi's address to the summit, which was part of the 60th Asian-African Conference Commemoration (AACC) events, surprised critics who had questioned his skills in diplomatic engagement given his lack of experience in foreign affairs.
Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) international expert Rizal Sukma, Presidential chief of staff Luhut Panjaitan, Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi, political analyst Sukardi Rinakit and anticorruption activist Teten Masduki were behind the formulation of the speech, according to Cabinet Secretary Andi Widjajanto.
Analysts previously believed that Jokowi would not put too much focus on international affairs, including in ASEAN where Indonesia has always been a key player, compared to his predecessor, the internationalist Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
Jokowi's choice of words criticizing the West were seen as another sign of a shift in Indonesia's foreign policy.
'We've urged reform in the global financial architecture to eliminate the domination of a few. The world now needs collective leadership that is just and responsible,' said Jokowi, whose popularity plunged to its lowest level largely due to his inability to lead six months into his tenure.
' Hasyim Widhiarto also contributed to the story
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