New President hits the ground running

New President hits the ground running
Indonesian President Joko Widodo (2nd R) and Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O'Neill (2nd L) walk together after their meeting at Palace in Jakarta.

New Indonesian President Joko Widodo got down to "work, work and work" early yesterday, starting his second day in office by meeting Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O'Neill.

They discussed border issues - Papua New Guinea shares a 760km border with Indonesia's easternmost Papua province - and future investment opportunities, such as in wood, mining and fisheries.

Mr Joko next held talks with Russia's Trade and Industry Minister, Mr Denis Manturov, who flagged his country's interest in doing more joint research collaborations in metallurgy.

The minister also conveyed Russian President Vladimir Putin's interest in holding a bilateral meeting with Mr Joko.

In the afternoon, the President met Ms Yan Junqi, vice-chairman of the Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress, or Parliament.

The series of meetings reflected the countries' keen interest in getting to know Mr Joko, the country's seventh President, and also showed how he lived up to his pledge to start work immediately.

In his inauguration speech, the former furniture businessman said that he was ready to "work, work and work" to build a stronger Indonesia and urged the people to chip in "through hard work and gotong royong (mutual help)".

Soon after his swearing-in on Monday, he took time out to meet foreign leaders and senior officials, including Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and United States Secretary of State John Kerry.

Mr Joko's "day" ended only at about 3am, after meetings with potential candidates for his Cabinet.

The highly anticipated announcement of the Cabinet line-up could happen this week.

Vice-President Jusuf Kalla also had a packed day yesterday, meeting a long list of foreign dignitaries who included Thailand's Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Tanasak Patimapragorn.

Defeated presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto also had a 50-minute meeting with the Vice-President.

The former general refuted suggestions that he was pushing for a larger representation for his coalition parties in the new Cabinet, saying that he was there to convey his best wishes for the President and Vice-President.

zubaidah@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on Oct 22, 2014.
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