JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi and Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi met in Bangkok, Thailand, vowing to improve high-level exchanges of the two countries, Xinhua reported. Last June, at the G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan, Chinese President Xi Jinping has reached new consensus with President Joko Widodo.
“We are willing to work with Indonesia in preparation for high-level exchanges of the two countries in the next phase and bring the bilateral cooperation to a new level,” said Wang after the meeting on Tuesday (07/30).
He continued, China will also work with members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to strengthen the cooperation, united as one and focused on Asia including East Asia, for regional prosperity and stability. While, Marsudi said,”President Joko looks forward to visiting China and attending the second China International Import Expo.”
At G20 meeting, Indonesia and China has agreed to prepare special funds in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) project. In the meeting, said finance minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Widodo took an initiative to submit a special funding request after offering Chinese projects worth US$91 billion.
President Xi welcomed and stated that China was ready to help Indonesia in carrying out development. The former managing director of the World Bank also admitted if the government is currently reviewing special funding if the plan can be realized. Because it will increase investment in Indonesia.
Indonesia has not been among the biggest beneficiaries of China’ trillion-dollar push to create a modern-day Silk Road. Southeast Asia’ largest economy says this is because it has insisted any loan within the BRI framework is done on a business-to-business basis to avoid exposing the government in case of default.
While, coordinating minister for maritime affairs, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, separately told reporters the fund should provide loans “with low interest in regards to investment in Indonesia, in partnership with Indonesian companies”.
Pandjaitan, who overseas BRI projects in Indonesia, stated that Indonesian government had offered China involvement in about 30 projects during a second Belt and Road Forum (BRF) in April of this year.
The most high-profile in Indonesia is a $6 billion high-speed rail project connecting the capital, Jakarta, to the textile hub of Bandung, awarded to a consortium of Chinese and Indonesian state firms in 2015. But, the project has faced land ownership issues.
Another project is a $1.5 billion hydropower plant, funded by Chinese banks and being built by the Chinese state firm Sinohydro, in the heart of the Batang Toru rainforest on the island of Sumatra.
As one of the important players and maritime centers within the framework of BRI, Indonesia has developed relations and cooperation with China. The increase in bilateral relations also helped strengthen China’ partnership with the ASEAN.
China is Indonesia’ largest trading partner in the last seven years in a row. In 2018, total trade between the two countries reached $63.3 billion, up 18 percent from a year earlier. These results cannot be separated from a variety of large projects such as the construction of parks and high-speed train Jakarta-Bandung.
In addition, Indonesia and China have signed 23 memoranda of understandings on investment and trade cooperation. The cooperation contract includes the development of four economic corridors, rapid train research and technology cooperation, and the development of research of education.
Indonesia and China have signed 23 memoranda of understandings on investment and trade cooperation. The cooperation contract includes the development of four economic corridors, rapid train research and technology cooperation, and the development of research of education.
According to Vice President Jusuf Kalla, beside signed the agreement, President Xi himself had promised to increase imports of agricultural, fruits, industrial products, and mineral mining products. In the BRF last April, Xi has signed contracts for new projects worth $64 billion.
For Indonesia, the funding will be focused on developing projects in 4 economic corridors, namely North Sumatra, North Kalimantan, North Sulawesi, and Bali. Chairman of Investment Coordinating Board Thomas Lembong added, that the BRI cooperation implementation will face some challenges.
But he sees that the infrastructure connection between BRI participants could boost emerging countries’ trade, tourism, and investment.
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