Indonesian rail project seals new era of investment

Updated: 2015-04-23 08:30

By Wu Jiao in Jakarta and Chen Mengwei in Beijing (China Daily)

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Presidents Xi and Widodo witness signing of framework for 160-km high-speed train link

President Xi Jinping joined Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Wednesday in Jakarta for the signing of a high-speed rail construction project that will link the 160 kilometers between the capital city of Jakarta and Ban-dung, the nation's third-largest city.

Indonesia developed a rail plan to construct 860 kilometers of high-speed rail connecting the major cities of Jakarta, Bandung, Cirebon and Surabaja, but had made limited progress due to technological and financial concerns.

Details of China's involvement in the project have yet to be released, but the two presidents witnessed the signing of a framework cooperation arrangement between China's National Development and Reform Commission and Indonesia's Ministry of State-Owned Enterprises.

The Jakarta-Bandung line, roughly the same distance as between Beijing and Tianjin, is the first phase of the national project.

"This is a very good sign for China. Its significance cannot be overlooked," said Chen Fengying, a researcher with the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations.

"China has been promoting high-speed rail as a business card to the world, and the new line in Indonesia, along with those in Thai-land and Russia, can be a real example."

Before Widodo took office, Japan offered last year to participate in the project by providing technology and funding. However, the government of Indonesia did not sign the deal, according to the economic and commercial counselor's office of the embassy of China in Indonesia.

Indonesian rail project seals new era of investment

Xi said China wants to encourage Chinese enterprises to participate in the construction and operation of Indonesia's infrastructure. He also agreed to work with Widodo on a new bilateral trade target of $150 billion by 2020.

Xi said the two countries should enhance practical cooperation, along with cultural and educational exchanges in other industries such as space, ocean and technology.

He proposed strengthening the nations' cooperation in the United Nations, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors and other multilateral organizations, and working together on global issues such as climate change and safety of energy and food.

China will continue to support the establishment of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations community and the notion that the group should play the leading role in the region's cooperation, Xi added.

Widodo said he welcomed China's increasing investment in Indonesia's infrastructure. He expressed willingness to expand cooperation with China and further discuss opportunities available through China's Maritime Silk Road economic zone and Indonesia's new development strategy.

Xi also met with Myanmar President Thein Sein after the meeting. Xi said that China supports efforts to seek the political resolution of the Northern Myanmar issue through peace talks. He expressed his hope to see new progress in the course of peace in Myanmar.

Thein Sein said Myanmar is dedicated to protect safety and stability in the northern Myanmar region and will accelerate the reconstruction of that region while pushing forward the political dialogue.

On March 13, five Chinese were killed and eight injured by bombs dropped on the Chinese territory in clashes between Myanmar government forces and rebels.

Myanmar Foreign Minister U Wunna Maung Lwin made an official apology for the bombing on April 2.

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(China Daily 04/23/2015 page3)



Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit Pakistan and attend the Asian-African Summit and activities commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Bandung Conference in Indonesia from April 20 to 24.

April 22
Attend the opening ceremony of the Asian-African Summit;
Meeting with Indonesian President Joko Widodo;

April 23
Bilateral meetings;
Attend the closing ceremony of the Asian-African Summit;

April 24
Historical walk from Savoy Homann Hotel to Gedung Merdeka;
Attend activities commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Bandung Conference;