By Djauhari Oratmangun
Before I became ambassador to China, I had visited the country several times. I witnessed much of the development of China. It has seized great achievements in transportation infrastructure and information technology. I am also very impressed by friendly Chinese people. They love their country and want to serve the country. Swift progress has resulted in China becoming one of the world’s economic powerhouses wielding increasing influence internationally. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. I want to offer my congratulations.
Indonesia and China have close relationship. The Chinese and Indonesian peoples started friendly exchange more than 2,000 years ago, and Indonesia was one of the first countries to establish diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China. Indonesia attaches great importance to its cooperative relationship with China. We are enthusiastic about jointly constructing the Belt and Road, deepening economic and trade relationship and advancing major projects like the Jakarta-Bandung railway.
We know well that no nation can reach its full potential all alone. Cooperation and partnership are the best strategies for national development. In this regard, I am glad to note that this year also marks the sixth anniversary of the establishment of a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between Indonesia and China. And I believe the best way to manifest this political commitment is through concrete economic cooperation.
Increasing two-way trade, investment and tourism cooperation reflect the growing Indonesia-China Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. China has been Indonesia’s largest trading partners for the last few years and main source of foreign investment in Indonesia. In 2018, two-way trade reached US$72.67 billion, Chinese investment in Indonesia reached US$2.4 billion, and the number of Chinese tourists visiting Indonesia reached 2.14 million.
Back in October 2018, the two governments signed an MoU on Jointly Promoting Cooperation within the Framework of the Global Maritime Fulcrum Vision and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The MoU explores the possibility of working together to form synergy between the two economies, enhance policy coordination and deepen mutually beneficial and practical cooperation with a view to realizing joint development and common prosperity.
The Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway is the flagship project of the first stage of strategic alignment. In addition, the two sides have begun intergovernmental cooperation on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Corridor, which is set to serve as the flagship project of the second stage of strategic alignment, of which some early-harvest projects are well underway.
I believe the BRI is a sound initiative that will benefit participant countries and the whole world. It’s open and inclusive, aiming at joint development that will also narrow the gap between developed and developing countries. Synergizing our respective development strategies has brought high-quality Indonesian products to ordinary Chinese consumers, outstanding Indonesian students to Chinese colleges and universities and reliable partners and broader prospects to Chinese businesses. Overall, synergizing our respective development strategies has created many development opportunities and favorable conditions for both sides.
Indonesia is one of the largest economies in the world and a member of G20. Furthermore, Indonesia has played an increasingly important role in the region as well as in the global arena due to its geographic position as the largest archipelagic country. Huge potential for future bilateral cooperation awaits, and we must do more to promote trade, investment, tourism, digital economics and e-commerce. We welcome successful Chinese enterprises to do business and invest in Indonesia.
Meanwhile, the foundation for the bilateral ties composed of people-topeople connectivity and social and cultural exchange has widened. Over the past two years, some 15,000 Indonesian students went to China to study. On April 26, Tsinghua University signed a cooperation MoU with Bandung Institute of Technology to foster innovative talent in Indonesia through institutional cooperation and human resources development. Further bilateral exchange and cooperation in media, think tanks, youth, religion, science and technology, sports and other realms have yielded fruitful results.
Next year, China and Indonesia will celebrate the 70th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic ties. It will be a significant milestone as we enhance our relations and forge
the future. We are ready to take this opportunity to optimize and upgrade our comprehensive strategic partnership.