This month, I will start writing “In the World Update” — complementary to my “In the World” podcast I launched on May that now airs in 6 platforms, including Spotify. This kick-off edition will feature short paragraphs of news linked to online newspapers (disclaimer: some pages are protected by paywall) covering news from Indonesia, Southeast Asia/ASEAN, China/BRI, the United States, UK/Brexit, and the World.
Jokowi Inaugurated, Cabinet Ministers Announced later this week
President Joko Widodo was sworn for his second term in office, hopeful that Indonesia will escape middle-income trap in 2045. This optimism was announced by Jokowi during his address despite the fact that the World Bank and IMF have just recently slashed the projected economic growth of the country. The country’s GDP per capita was recorded at $4,284.70 in 2018, according to World Bank data. As to how the president will navigate in the next five years, the people are still waiting for the announcement of his cabinet ministers (who will play a huge role in shaping his second term in office, such as Minister of Finance, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Coordinating Ministry of Economic Affairs, and Coordinating Ministry of Maritime Affairs, among others) later this week.
Indonesia Secures Seat in UN Human Rights Body, After Securing A Seat in UN Security Council A Year Earlier
Indonesia secures a seat in UNHRC by 174 votes out of 193 countries attending the UN General Assembly session on Thursday, October 17. The election took place amidst criticisms to the country regarding the country’s performance in handling human rights issue. Indonesian ambassador to the UN claims that Indonesia seeks to “better explain the domestic situation to the international community” by becoming UNHRC member from 2020 to 2022. Indonesia also serves as a non-permanent member in the UNSC until the end of 2020. The country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs argues that Indonesia’s membership at both the UNSC and UNHRC would give the country’s opportunity to “bridge” the two UN organs.
Vietnam, Malaysia Refuses to Screen ‘Abominable’ over South China Sea
Dreamwork’s ‘Abominable’ is not to be screened in Vietnam and Malaysia over the Nine-Dash Line that is drawn in the map of the South China Sea. While China claims most of the sea as its own, Vietnam, Malaysia, and several other Southeast Asian countries including the Philippines argue that China’s claim is invalid under international law. The movie, produced by the American production house Dreamworks in cooperation with the Shanghai-based Pearl Studio, entered cinema’s screens internationally on September 2019. The movie is still screened in Indonesia.
China, Greater China/BRI
China Leases An Island in the Solomon Islands, after the Pacific country cuts ties with Taiwan
Solomon Islands announced that the country is joining China’s Belt and Road Initiative after it severed ties with Taiwan. Kiribati, another Pacific country, followed suit in the same week. Taiwan’s position vis-a-vis China is getting weaker as countries cut ties with the island in recent years. Last year only, there are at least four countries that terminated their ties with the island.
‘Where there’s a will, there’s a deal’ — but Parliament rejected Brexit Bill, now Second Referendum is gaining ground
The President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker joked ‘where there’s a will, there’s a deal’, amidst increasing uncertainty about Brexit. Although a Brexit deal is reached between the UK government and the EU, Parliament rejected Brexit Bill, forcing the country to further delay Brexit as stipulated by law passed by the parliament several weeks back. On a side note, Labour said that the party will only support the bill if it includes clause on Second Referendum.