A Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reporter recently joined Indonesian President Joko Widodo in an inspection tour at a traditional market in Bali and was able to witness first-hand local people’s love for the leader they affectionately call ‘bapak,’ or father.
Tuoi Tre was the only Vietnamese newspaper and one of a few foreign newspapers accompanying President Widodo at Badung market on Thursday, just one day after the most intense G20 Summit ever ended.
Badung is the largest covered traditional market on the island of Bali, consisting of four floors selling all kinds of goods.
The Balinese showed up early at the market and lined up neatly to wait for ‘bapak’ Jokowi.
‘Bapak’ in Bahasa Indonesia means ‘gentleman’ but also means ‘father,’ while Jokowi is a friendly name the people use to call their president — a partial combination of Joko and Widodo.
|People form a crowd during Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s inspection tour at Badung traditional market in Bali, Indonesia, November 17, 2022. Photo: Duy Linh / Tuoi Tre|
After about an hour of waiting, the 61-year-old president and his entourage arrived at the market to the cheers of the people.
President Widodo chose a compact outfit with a white shirt over casual pants, and a presidential badge on his chest.
Stepping out of his car and briefly shaking hands with local officials at the entrance, Widodo headed to the marketplace, where hundreds of people were shouting “bapak, bapak.”
Upon Widodo’s moving to the inside of the market, he had only a few peaceful minutes to learn about the business and life of small merchants, before being surrounded by heaps of enthusiastic and curious people.
|A vendor talks with Indonesian President Joko Widodo during the leader’s inspection tour at Badung traditional market in Bali, Indonesia, November 17, 2022. Photo: Duy Linh / Tuoi Tre|
The three-meter-wide aisle between the stalls was packed with people following every step of the president.
As more and more people flocked to the location of the president, the scene became like a waterfall pouring down.
People outside wanted to get in, while those already inside tried to get closer to shake hands, talk to or take pictures with the president.
Others who were afraid of the crowding scene huddled around the skylight area and called Jokowi’s name.
|A vendor takes a photo with Indonesian President Joko Widodo (R) during the leader’s inspection tour at Badung traditional market in Bali, Indonesia, November 17, 2022. Photo: Duy Linh / Tuoi Tre|
After a tour, President Widodo stopped at the entrance to the market and gave a short speech, explaining that the trip was meant to help him understand the real situation of people’s lives amid the current inflation context.
While Indonesia’s inflation eased to 5.71 percent in October, it remained above Bank Indonesia’s 2-4 percent target range for the fifth straight month and near a seven-year high of 5.95 percent in September, according to Reuters.
“I have breakfast with macro issues but often think about the microeconomy,” Widodo said during the speech.
“I want to see how my people live, what problems and challenges they are facing to have appropriate policies.”
|A resident wears a black T-shirt given out by Indonesian President Joko Widodo during the leader’s inspection tour at Badung traditional market in Bali, Indonesia, November 17, 2022. Photo: Duy Linh / Tuoi Tre|
As the president waved goodbye to the crowd, one of his bodyguard gave out black T-shirts, which excited the residents.
Gin, the owner of the hotel where Tuoi Tre reporter was staying, laughed when he heard about President Widodo’s inspection tour, explaining that such hearty welcome was normal because the president was so loved by his people.
“People are drawn to his approachable style,” Gin said.
“There has never been a president as friendly and close to the people as Jokowi.
“I think what he did today is sincere because Jokowi is constitutionally not allowed to run for a third term.
“Now he has only two years left before the end of his second and final term.”
|A resident receives a black T-shirt given out by Indonesian President Joko Widodo during the leader’s inspection tour at Badung traditional market in Bali, Indonesia, November 17, 2022. Photo: Duy Linh / Tuoi Tre|
Vietnamese, French premiers discuss strategic partnership during phone talks
Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh had a phone conversation with French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne on Monday, during which the French leader expressed her desire to strengthen cooperation with Vietnam in digital fields and renewable energy.
The phone talks aimed to exchange measures to strengthen the Vietnam-France strategic partnership, especially in economic, trade, and investment cooperation, as the two countries head toward the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations and the 10th anniversary of the strategic partnership in 2023, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
PM Chinh affirmed that Vietnam attaches great importance to the relations with France, an important member of the European Union (EU), and took the occasion to thank the French government and people for providing 5.5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to Vietnam.
PM Borne congratulated Vietnam on the achievements in post-pandemic economic recovery and development, suggesting that the two sides work closely together to make the bilateral strategic partnership more substantial and effective.
The two premiers agreed that economic cooperation is an important pillar in the Vietnam-France strategic partnership and discussed the progress of major joint projects, especially the Nhon-Hanoi Station urban railway.
PM Borne expressed her hope to strengthen cooperation with Vietnam in digital economy, digital transformation, infrastructure, and especially renewable energy, and agreed to promote full and effective implementation of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) to optimize opportunities.
PM Chinh proposed that France create favorable conditions for Vietnamese farm produce to access the French market, ratify the EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA) in an early manner to motivate the bilateral investment partnership, and encourage the European Commission to soon remove the yellow card against Vietnamese fisheries.
He also asked the French government for increasing the number of scholarships for Vietnamese students and supporting Vietnam to restore and preserve cultural heritage sites recognized by UNESCO.
The leader appreciated France’s dynamic policy in the Indo-Pacific region and supported its active role in responding to common challenges in the region.
Both sides affirmed the significance of ensuring peace and stability in the East Vietnam Sea, and the settlement of disputes through peaceful measures in accordance with international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
On this occasion, PM Chinh invited PM Borne to visit Vietnam, and the latter accepted with pleasure.
Vietnam’s top legislator join talks with Speaker of the Philippine House of Representatives
Vietnamese National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue joined talks with Speaker of the Philippine House of Representatives Martin Romualdez in Manila on Wednesday.
The conversation took place right after a welcoming ceremony for Chairman Hue at the House of Representatives’ headquarters, within the framework of his official visit to the Philippines from Wednesday through Friday, the Vietnam News Agency reported.
Romualdez expressed his belief that the trip will create a new impulse for the two countries’ strategic partnership to develop effectively and substantively in all aspects.
On behalf of the high-ranking Vietnamese delegation, Hue congratulated the Philippines on the successful organization of the general elections last May and Romualdez on his election to the House leadership.
He believed that the resolution on strengthening bilateral cooperation through the Philippine-Vietnam Parliamentarians’ Friendship Society will be an important milestone to further strengthen the relationship between the legislative bodies, as well as the strategic partnership between the two countries in general.
The NA chairman praised the comprehensive achievements that the Philippine government and House of Representatives have obtained in the country’s development over the past years, especially in controlling the COVID-19 pandemic and maintaining high economic growth.
Both the host and guest held that high-level visits and meetings reflect the close ties and political trust between leaders and peoples of the two countries.
They agreed to further strengthen bilateral ties in such areas as politics, diplomacy, trade, and investment.
On this occasion, Chairman Hue invited the Philippine Speaker to visit Vietnam, and Romualdez thanked and accepted the invitation with pleasure.
Vietnam’s top legislator starts official visit to Philippines
Vietnam’s lawmaking National Assembly (NA) Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue arrived in Villamor airbase, Manila on Wednesday, commencing his three-day official visit to the Philippines, the Vietnam News Agency reported.
The visit will run from Wednesday to Friday at the invitation of Senate President of the Philippines Juan Miguel Zubiri.
This is the first official visit to the Philippines by an NA chairperson of Vietnam in 16 years and also the first by a foreign parliamentary leader to the Philippines after the country successfully held the general elections in May and elected new leaders of its House of Representatives and Senate in July.
It also marks the resumption of high-level mutual visits between the two countries after a hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Chairman Hue is expected to discuss with senior leaders of the Philippines measures to promote bilateral cooperation in many fields and deepen the two nations’ strategic partnership.
One of the highlights of the visit is to review and promote the development of legal policies, which will act as a lever for economic cooperation as well as collaboration in issues of mutual concern.
Hue will also attend a trade and investment forum and a number of other activities.
Vietnam and the Philippines established diplomatic relations more than 45 years ago, and the two countries’ strategic partnership has continued to develop positively across all fields.
The two-way trade turnover reached US$6.8 billion in 2021, the highest in the past years, and more than $6 billion in the first nine months of 2022.
Cooperation in agriculture still has a lot of room for development, especially in the context that Vietnam is the leading exporter of agricultural products in the region, while the Philippines is the second-most populous country in ASEAN.
Ties in other areas such as education, tourism, and people-to-people exchanges are gradually recovering after being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Vietnam is currently one of the three strategic partners of the Philippines, along with the U.S. and Japan.
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