The big event has finally arrived. After months of planning and thousands of hours of organization, the G20 Summit is finally kicking off in Bali. US President Joe Biden has landed at I Gusti Ngurah Rai and has already been whisked away in ‘The Beast’, security forces have dealt with potential protestors, and tourists are adjusting plans to detour around road closures. As the conference gets underway, everyone is talking about the most significant global political event ever to grace the shores of Bali.
US President Joe Biden touched down in Bali on Sunday night at around 10.45 pm. He stepped off Air Force One, paused for a greeting and photo call, and was swiftly driven out of the airport and onwards to Nusa Dua with his motorcade. He was greeted by the popular Minister for Tourism and Creative Industries, Sandiaga Uno, and traditional Balinese dancers before starting his journey to the Apurva Kempinski Hotel.
Biden landed in Bali after a state visit to Cambodia, as did Indonesian President Joko Widodo and many other heads of state. It is an exceptionally busy time for many of the G20 world leaders who have not only traveled to Cambodia for the ASEAN Summit and made an appearance at the COP27 Summit in Egypt last week.
Minster Uno told reporters, “I have the honor and duty of the state to welcome Mr. President Joe Biden, who landed in Bali last night. Welcome, President Biden, to Wonderful Indonesia and the beautiful island of the god, the Island of the Gods, the island of Bali.” As world leaders arrive in Bali, security is higher than it has ever been on the island. There are 14 Indonesian warships stationed across the coastline, as well as thousands of armed officers on land.
So far, the President of France, Emmanuel Macron, has landed in Denpasar, as well as Justin Trudeau, the Prime Mister of Canada, Anthony Albanese of Australia, and the President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The Prime Minister of Japan, Fumio Kishida, landed on Sunday evening, shortly before the President of South Korea, Yoon Suk-yeol. Late on Monday night, the Italian Prime Minster, Georgia Meloni, landed in Denpasar and was driving to Nusa Dua for the conference to formally begin on Tuesday.
The arrival of world leaders has been a much talked about topic in recent days. Until the weekend, it was believed that Russian President Vladimir Putin would be attending the conference in person. However, it was confirmed at the weekend that he would not make an appearance in Bali, with many sources citing that he fears an assassination attempt.
In a written statement, the Russian Army General Sergey Markov said, “There is a big possibility of an assassination attempt on Putin from the special services of the US, Britain, and Ukraine.”
He continued to suggest that there would also be attempts to humiliate Putin in Bali, saying, “A possibility of humiliating situations. For example, some disabled social activist knocks Putin down – as if accidentally – and all world media splash a picture with the caption ‘President of Russia is down on all fours’…I am certain this kind of situation is being planned by some completely mad Westerners”.
Since the news of Putin not attending the G20 broke, it has been confirmed that the iconic ‘family photo’ won’t be taken this year. Nevertheless, world leaders and their delegations are getting straight down to business in Bali. Joe Biden has already held a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Biden said that he and Xi Jinping have a responsibility to ‘manage our differences’. Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has also confirmed that he will be meeting Mr. Xi during the event.
While the dizzying heights of global politics are exclusionary for many citizens around the world, the G20 in Bali is having a direct impact on local people. Many small business owners in Nusa Dua have had to stop their operations this week so that G20 activities can take over.
Cafe owners and souvenir shop owners in Nusa Dua have told reporters that despite orders to cease business this week, they support the government during this time. I Ketut Adi Juliarta said, “Starting a week before the G20 summit, there was a decline in sales turnover. Maybe for now, there is no delegation shopping because it is still precarious. Hopefully, after the G20 Summit is over, someone will shop here”.
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