Bali feels heat of global tensions as Biden-Xi G20 meeting looms
Indonesia's resort island of Bali is making final preparations to host world leaders at the G20 Summit, amid hopes and concerns from locals and tourists alike.
On beaches in Bali’s Kuta, optimism over Indonesia’s turn in the global spotlight is mixed with fear that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will derail the summit.
Indonesia is resisting Western pressure to disinvite Russia and expel it from the group. Russia meanwhile has confirmed that President Vladimir Putin will not attend this week's meeting.
Meanwhile Bali vendors such as Sayang Mundi have more immediate worries. Shops and vendors have been banned from opening in three beachside districts around the summit venue. The loss of business that will result has sparked fears of another roadblock to Bali’s already-slow pandemic recovery.
Indonesia's Centre for Strategic and International Studies said the host nation has found the right geopolitical balance by not barring Russia from the summit.
"Indonesia may not be one of the major powers both in economic or strategic power, but Indonesia can be seen as one of the very influential middle powers," said the think tank’s executive director Yose Rizal Damuri.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo told the Financial Times that Russia was welcome at the summit, which he feared would be overshadowed by a "very worrying" rise in international tensions.
The November 15-16 summit is the first among G20 leaders since Russia invaded Ukraine, sparking a bloody war, international sanctions and a global fuel crisis.
It will also mark the first face-to-face meeting between US President Joe Biden and President Xi Jinping of China, a staunch ally of Russia in the face of Western-led sanctions.