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Jakarta Post

Commentary: ‘Gong xi fa cai’ from President Jokowi to President Xi Jinping

  • Kornelius Purba

    Senior editor at The Jakarta Post

  /   Tue, January 14 2020   /  12:25 am

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo can easily ease the tension between Indonesia and China over the two countries’ overlapping claims to the waters north of Natuna. He only needs to phone Chinese President Xi Jinping to wish him well on the upcoming Chinese New Year. The two have met at least eight times as presidents so far and appear to have built a strong personal bond. As a Muslim, Jokowi should not worry about the possibility of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) prohibiting Muslims from conveying a Chinese New Year greeting; the MUI is only concerned about Christmas greetings.The timing is also perfect as this year the two countries will celebrate 70 years of diplomatic relations. The opportunity beckons for President Jokowi to raise the Natuna issue directly with his counterpart.I suggest that President Jokowi begin the conversation with a light, personal matter, such as his Chi...