Interview: Indonesian parliament speaker voices support for Belt and Road cooperation

Source: Xinhua| 2018-10-01 20:17:34|Editor: mmm
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by Yu Qianliang, Abu Hanifah

JAKARTA, Oct. 1 (Xinhua) -- The Indonesian parliament supports cooperation with China under the Belt and Road Initiative, and expects mutually beneficial results for both sides from the projects carried out in Indonesia.

The message was conveyed by Indonesian Parliament Speaker Bambang Soesatyo during a recent exclusive interview with Xinhua in his office.

This year marks the fifth anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative which was proposed by China in 2013, aiming to build a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient trade routes of Silk Road.

The initiative comprises the land-based "Silk Road Economic Belt" and ocean-going "21st Century Maritime Silk Road."

"Basically, the Belt and Road concept is good as it highlights adequate connectivity of infrastructure in trade lanes used to be recognized as the Silk Road. On the map, Indonesia is located on the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road with planned developments from Aceh to North Maluku province," Bambang said.

According to Bambang, the initiative is fit with Indonesia's Global Maritime Axis vision due to its geographical position.

Through the Global Maritime Axis, Indonesia plans to maximize the role of sea transportation to enhance the economy of people living across more than 17,000 islands from western to eastern regions, by providing more frequent shipping services supported by modern sea passenger and logistic transport systems that would eventually make sea transport more efficient and lucrative to help bolster the economy in the regions.

To facilitate the idea, Bambang said that Indonesia direly needs deep sea ports to accommodate big ships serving inter-island transportation across the country.

Indonesia-China cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative's projects have been put in place in several locations across the country, including the Jakarta-Bandung high speed railway.

"Those projects employ many Indonesian workers. This is in line with parliament's steps in encouraging cooperation with other countries by prioritizing the development of secondary industries employing massive numbers of domestic workers," Bambang said.

He added that those projects may spur Indonesia's exports, growth and open more jobs for Indonesian people.

Showcasing Indonesia's huge potential for the mutually beneficial cooperation, Bambang said that Indonesia may offer an abundance of resources with an annual capitalization that may reach up to billions of U.S. dollars.

Apart from that, Bambang encouraged Chinese investors to invest in Indonesia's renewable energy sector. "Should China can take part in it, I think it can serve as a cornerstone to a new level of economic cooperation between the two countries," he said.

The successful initiation of the Belt and Road projects in Indonesia should be followed suit by the governments of both countries further materializing the initiative's aim of enhancing the two economies, Bambang said.

Bambang went on to say that bilateral relations between Indonesia and China have significantly expanded since the comprehensive strategic partnership was declared in 2013.

As part of the parliament's support for the government's foreign policy, particularly with China, Bambang said that he was eager to help promote closer relations between Indonesia and China.