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"Gamelan Orchestra" of China-Indonesia Friendship and Cooperation

On the eve of Premier Li Keqiang's official visit to Indonesia, Ambassador Xiao Qian published a signed article on The Jakarta Post, spoke highly of the China-Indonesia relations. The full text is as follows:

"Gamelan Orchestra" of China-Indonesia Friendship and Cooperation

Ambassador Xiao Qian

At the invitation of President Joko Widodo, Chinese Premier H.E. Mr. Li Keqiang will pay an official visit to Indonesia from 6th to 8th May, 2018. Indonesia is the first stop of the first overseas visit by Chinese Premier after the new Chinese government is formed in March 2018. It fully demonstrates the great significance China places on its relationship with Indonesia.

Both China and Indonesia are ancient civilizations with splendid history. The history of friendly exchanges between the two peoples can be traced back to the Han dynasty more than 2,000 years ago. The great Chinese navigator Zheng He from Ming Dynasty made seven voyages to the "Western Seas", leaving behind countless legacies in Java and Sumatra. Indonesia was one of the first countries to establish diplomatic relations with the New China. In the 1950s, both countries stood together with other countries in Asia and Africa to advocate the Bandung Spirit featuring peaceful coexistence and seeking common ground while reserving differences. Today it remains an important guideline for state-to-state relations. Since its inception 68 years ago, the China-Indonesia relationship has seen its fair share of ups and downs and developed by leaps and bounds. The resumption of diplomatic ties in 1990 started a new chapter in the development of bilateral relations. To build even stronger relations has become the shared commitment and resolve of both governments and societies.

Viewing Indonesia as a priority in China's neighborhood diplomacy, President Xi Jinping and the Chinese government have attached great importance to the development of China-Indonesia relations over the past five years. Until now, President Xi has paid two visits to Indonesia. During his state visit to Indonesia in 2013, President Xi unveiled the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road Initiative, and elevated the bilateral relationship to comprehensive strategic partnership. In 2015, President Xi once again visited Indonesia to attend the Asian-African Summit and commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the Bandung Conference. The two sides have jointly promoted and enhanced the Asian-African spirit of solidarity and cooperation.

China and Indonesia are good neighbors, good friends and good partners. The broad common interests and deep-rooted friendship serve as a tight linkage between the two countries. In recent years, under the leadership of President Xi Jinping and President Joko Widodo, China and Indonesia have focused on promoting synergy between respective development strategies and expanded cooperation across the board. The bilateral relations have embarked on a fast track of development. President Joko Widodo has paid five visits to China and held six bilateral meetings with President Xi Jinping. The two heads of state have reached important consensus on enhancing the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. China has remained as Indonesia's largest trading partner for seven consecutive years. In 2017, the bilateral trade registered a year-on-year increase rate of 18.3% to exceed 63.3 billion U.S. dollars. Indonesia's exports to China increased by 33%, promoting a balanced development of bilateral trade. Meanwhile, China's annual investment in Indonesia increased by over 30% to reach 3.4 billion U.S. dollars. Major cooperation projects including the Jakarta-Bandung High-Speed Rail are in full swing. In 2017, the number of Chinese tourists to Indonesia surpassed 2 million for the first time, totaling 2.06 million, which made China the largest source of overseas tourists to Indonesia. Having received over 14,000 Indonesian students, China has become Indonesia's second-largest destination for overseas study. Chinese giant pandas "Cai Tao" and "Hu Chun" made their home in Indonesia, bringing a message of friendship and goodwill from the Chinese people.

Today, we live at a time with overwhelming trend toward peace and cooperation, openness and connectivity, and reform and innovation. The 19th CPC National Congress held last October ushered socialism with Chinese characteristics into a new era. It marks a new chapter in China's rejuvenation and its effort for shared prosperity with the rest of the world. In this new era, China will stay committed to advancing reform in all respects, follow the new development vision, implement the strategy of opening-up for win-win results and stick to the path of peaceful development. By doing so, we will be able to build a new type of international relations, and a community of shared future for mankind.

2018 marks the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening-up. What has happened proves that opening-up was key to China's economic growth over the past 40 years and in the same vein, high-quality development of China's economy in the future can only be achieved with greater openness. A more open and prosperous China not only benefits its people but also provides new opportunities for countries in the region and beyond including Indonesia. I believe the opportunities are as follows:

First market opportunity. Despite the lack of effective global demand, the potential of the Chinese market is still growing. China does not seek trade surplus; it has a genuine desire to increase imports. It is estimated China will import 10 trillion US dollars of goods in the coming five years. This November, China will host the first China International Import Expo. We cordially invite the Indonesian business community to participate and promote Indonesian products.

Second investment opportunity. In this new round of reform, China encourages businesses and individuals to invest abroad. And Chinese businesses are becoming a major source of international investment and financing. China's outbound investment is estimated to reach 750 billion US dollars in the next five years. With continuously improving business environment, Indonesia is becoming a major destination for Chinese investment.

Third people-to-people exchange opportunity. The number of Chinese outbound tourists is expected to reach 700 million in the coming five years. Indonesia in recent years has attracted a growing number of tourists from China. Such tourist resorts as Bali, Manado and Yogyakarta have gained increasing popularity among Chinese tourists. I believe this growing trend will not only help enhance mutual understanding between the two countries, but also boost the local economy. Moreover, China will provide more varieties of scholarships to help the Indonesian students to realize their dream of studying in China.

Fourth growth opportunity. The world today needs a developing China more than ever. Over the past five years, in the face of sluggish world economic recovery, the Chinese economy has registered an average growth rate of 7.1%. Contributing over 30% of global growth, China has become a key anchor and driver for the world economy. In this new era, China will stay committed to reform and opening-up, promote high-quality development of its economy, and continue to contribute to the economic development of all countries around the world including Indonesia.

During the official visit, Premier Li Keqiang will hold bilateral meetings with President Joko Widodo and other Indonesian leaders, to exchange views on further promoting synergy between development strategies, and expanding practical cooperation. The visit will chart the future direction of China-Indonesia relations in this new era. The leaders will also witness the signing of multiple cooperation agreements in the sectors of strategic alignment, e-commerce and agriculture, injecting new impetus to the bilateral friendly cooperation.

Unity gives us strength and good solid work will shape our future. This year marks the 5th anniversary of the China-Indonesia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. I believe the two countries will draw on the momentum generated by the upcoming visit by Premier Li Keqiang and make concerted efforts to implement the important consensus reached between the leaders, further synergise development strategies, push forward construction of major projects including the Jakarta-Bandung High-Speed Rail, kick-start cooperation on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Corridors, and elevate bilateral practical cooperation to new heights. Let's play the gamelan music in celebration of our comprehensive strategic cooperation!

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