China Focus: Dovetailing China-Indonesia development to inject vitality into bilateral ties

Source: Xinhua| 2018-05-08 21:54:26|Editor: ZX
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BEIJING, May 8 (Xinhua) -- The pledge by China and Indonesia to forge greater synergy between their development strategies is expected to take practical cooperation between the two countries to a new high.

The consensus was reached during Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's official visit to Indonesia that started Sunday.

The two countries agreed to sign an MOU on cooperation between the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the Global Maritime Fulcrum as soon as possible, and identify a number of projects in this area, as said in a speech delivered by Premier Li at the China-Indonesia Business Summit Monday.

The coordination of maritime development strategies is a key opportunity for cooperation between the two sides.

Infrastructure is a focus of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, proposed in 2013 as part of the BRI. It is also a key component in the vision of a Global Maritime Fulcrum.

"China has abundant experience, funds and technology for infrastructure construction needed by Indonesia, which lacks infrastructure such as ports, bridges and roads," said Xu Liping, a research fellow with the National Institute of International Strategy at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

One landmark project is the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway. As the first high-speed railway in Indonesia and Southeast Asia, it will shorten travel time between the two cities to about 40 minutes from over three hours, and boost the local economy and employment.

China is a major source of foreign direct investment (FDI) in Indonesia. Chinese FDI rose more than 30 percent in 2017, and the investment stock exceeded 10 billion U.S. dollars.

Describing bilateral relations as having "embarked on a fast lane of growth," Li said business cooperation has been the most vibrant and productive component of overall relations.

A joint statement released by China and Indonesia on Monday announced that the two sides will jointly promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, support the multilateral trading system and promote an open, inclusive and balanced economic globalization that benefits all.

The two countries also agree to renew the MOU on Agricultural Cooperation and reactivate the Joint Committee on Agriculture at an early date with a view to enhancing mutually beneficial practical cooperation, said the statement.

"China has a vast market for agricultural and fish products. Indonesia, which provides such products, also needs investment to develop related industries," said Xu, adding that the demand from each side is complementary to that from the other.

China has been Indonesia's largest trading partner for seven years in a row. Two-way trade between the two countries reached 63.3 billion U.S. dollars in 2017, an 18.3-percent year-on-year growth.

The figure is expected to grow further, as Li pledged to work with Indonesia on the digital economy, green economy, ocean economy and sharing economy, according to the speech delivered Monday.

Li's visit came as this year marks the 5th anniversary of the establishment of the China-Indonesia comprehensive strategic partnership and the 15th anniversary of the strategic partnership between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

As greater synergy has been forged between the development strategies of China and Indonesia, both countries have a promising future not only in bilateral relations, but also in regional and global development.

"The landmark projects by the two countries act as a good example and inspiration for China's cooperation with ASEAN," said Xu, who said that deepening bilateral cooperation will be seen in culture, education, sports, medicine, religion and other fields.

KEY WORDS: China-Indonesia