Saturday, 23 September, 2023

Beijing pledges deeper ties with Jakarta

China premier meets Indonesia president

Chinese Premier Li Qiang met Indonesia's president for talks Friday, agreeing to boost cooperation and trade including expanding imports from Southeast Asia's biggest economy, Chinese state media reported.

Li met with Joko Widodo in the Indonesian capital Jakarta after leaders' summits this week with the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) bloc which was snubbed by President Xi Jinping.

The Chinese premier said Beijing would deepen practical cooperation and strategic mutual trust with Jakarta including expanding imports of bulk commodities, and agricultural and fishery products, Xinhua state news agency reported.

He told Widodo that Beijing would work with Jakarta on several new joint flagship projects of its Belt and Road Initiative that would push relations to a new level, Xinhua reported.

He also said China was ready to work with Indonesia to prepare for the operation of a high-speed railway funded by Beijing that is set to open later this year after delays, running from capital Jakarta to the Javan city of Bandung.

Li trialled the train with senior Indonesian minister Luhut Pandjaitan earlier in the week before its official opening in October.

At the ASEAN plus three summit with China, Japan and South Korea on Wednesday, Widodo invited Beijing to cooperate more on developing the archipelago nation's electric vehicle industry, according to Indonesian state news agency Antara.

China is one of the biggest investors in Indonesia and Jakarta's government data shows Chinese firms pumped $8.2 billion into the country last year -- more than double the 2021 figure of $3.1 billion.

In July Widodo met Xi in the Chinese city of Chengdu where the two countries signed agreements on industry, agriculture, fisheries, e-commerce, science and technological innovation.

He also met Xi on the sidelines of the G20 summit on the Indonesian resort island of Bali in November, but the Chinese leader will not attend the next summit in New Delhi this weekend.