Jokowi, China's Qin Gang Discuss High-Speed Railway Project
TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo met with the People’s Republic of China’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Qin Gang who was freshly inaugurated in December last year. The meeting took place on Wednesday, February 22, 2023, where Jokowi and Qin Gang discussed various cooperations that need to be improved bilaterally.
In the meeting, Jokowi and Qin Gang discussed the Jakarta-Bandung High-Speed Railway construction, the new capital city’s ongoing project, and the domestic downstream industry which Indonesia driving to grow in the future.
Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi mentioned that the Chinese Minister was generally positive in his responses.
"This includes increasing imports from Indonesia, especially agriculture products," said Minister Retno on Wednesday, February 22, 2023.
Prior to the meeting, the State-owned Enterprises (SOEs) Deputy Minister Kartika Wirjoatmodjo said that the two governments have come up with a deal on the issue of the high-speed railway cost overrun that amounts to Rp18.2 trillion.
"We are currently finalizing a number of items [that include] tax studies, clearing frequency, and so on. But the number has been agreed upon," said Kartika in a hearing session with members of the House of Representatives (DPR) on February 13, 2023.
Reports suggested that Indonesia is in need of additional debt reaching up to US$550 million (Rp8.3 trillion in current exchange) to cover the cost overrun.
President Jokowi dodged questions regarding the project’s cost overrun during an automobile exhibition in Kemayoran, Jakarta, on February 16, 2023.
"Be watchful, don’t be pro on personal transportation even though this is the IIMS [Indonesian International Motor Show]. [We must] be pro towards mass transportation," said the President.
Furthermore, in the bilateral meeting with the Chinese Foreign Minister, Jokowi also discussed the importance of increasing mutually beneficial economic cooperation between the two countries.
"In this case, I need to say that so far the PRC [People's Republic of China] is Indonesia's largest trading partner and our trade status is getting more and more balanced," Minister Retno Marsudi reiterated.
Jokowi conveyed the importance of Indonesia and China being the driving force of peace and stability in the region. According to Jokowi, economic development cannot be carried out without peace and stability in the region.
"And in the meeting earlier, the PRC Foreign Minister expressed strong support for Indonesia's chairmanship in ASEAN," said Retno.
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