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Remarks by Chinese Ambassador to Indonesia H.E. Mr. Xiao Qian at Rotary National Webinar
2020/09/30

Your Honorable Ms. Wiguna, District Governor Rotary International D340

Your Honorable Mr. Rodolfo Balmater, Ms. Eva, Mr. Brian Yaputa,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Selamat Soré!

It gives me great pleasure to attend the Rotary National Webinar with many old and new friends and exchange views on China-Indonesia relations and our joint fight against the COVID-19. Rotary International, with members from all walks of life and professions, is dedicated to serving others and advancing understanding, goodwill and peace around the world. I believe today's webinar offers a fresh platform for the Indonesian society to better understand China. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Indonesia. Here, I wish to share with you some of my observations and thoughts on our bilateral relations.

I . Over 70 years, China-Indonesia traditional friendship and practical cooperation have withstood the test of time and changes in the international arena and emerged even stronger.

In 1950, only 7 months after its founding, the People’s Republic of China has established diplomatic ties with the Republic of Indonesia. Thus Indonesia has become on the very first countries to establish diplomatic ties with the New China. In 1955, China and Indonesia, together with other Asian and African countries, jointly initiated the Bandung Spirit featuring peaceful coexistence and seeking common ground while shelving differences, which remains an important norm governing state-to-state relations today. Through solidarity and mutual support, China and ASEAN countries including Indonesia weathered the storm of 1998 Asian financial crisis. In this new century, our bilateral relations have grown by leaps and bounds from establishing strategic partnership in 2005 to comprehensive strategic partnership in 2013. Our bilateral relations have embarked on a fast lane of growth. Along the way, China and Indonesia have always stood shoulder to shoulder and forge ahead. Significant progress has been made in the development of bilateral Ties.

First, deepening political mutual trust. Over the years, President Xi has paid two visits to Indonesia and President Jokowi 5 visits to China. Together, they have held 8 bilateral meetings and kept frequent exchange of phone-calls and letters, reaching important consensus on bilateral ties and charting the course for future relations. Two countries have established dialogue mechanisms at vice-premier level and maintained frequent exchanges between governments, parliaments and political parties,which have facilitated cooperation across the board.

Second, greater synergy between development strategies. The Initiative of 21st Century Maritime Silkroad was first announced in Indonesia. In 2018, the two governments signed MoU on jointly building the Belt and Road and Global Maritime Fulcrum. Steady progress is being made in Jakarta-Bandung high-speed rail, the first of its kind in Southeast Asia. Intergovernmental cooperation on Regional Comprehensive Economic Corridors is well underway. China also helps to facilitate industrialization drive in Indonesia.

Third, increasing cooperation for mutual benefits. China has been Indonesia's top trading partner for 9 consecutive years. The two-way trade reached US$79.4 billion in 2019, up by 10-fold since 2000. In just 5 years, China's investment ranking has jumped from 9th to 2nd place. Together, we have built Indonesia's longest cross-sea bridge, the Surabaya-Madura Bridge and second largest dam, the Jatigede Dam. Morowali Industrial Park has turned Indonesia into the 2nd largest exporter of stainless steel in just 5 Years.

Fourth, burgeoning people-to-people exchanges. In recent years, Indonesia has received an annual average of over two million visits by Chinese citizens, making China a major source of foreign tourists in Indonesia. China is also the second largest host of Indonesian students totaling over ten thousands. Through multiple visits to China, major local Islamic organizations have actively promoted bilateral cultural and religious exchanges. The two giant pandas, Huchun and Caitao, living in Bogor, have become new envoys of friendship between our peoples.

Fifth, closer coordination on multilateral affairs. Both China and Indonesia are major countries in Asia and members of G20. Our relationship goes far beyond our two countries. We are making concerted efforts to advance China-ASEAN cooperation, uphold peace and stability in South China Sea, support Palestinians in their cause to liberation, safeguard free trade and multilateralism, oppose unilateralism and trade bullying, and jointly safeguard the legitimate right to development of developing countries and the world order.

Ⅱ. Under the impact of COVID-19 pandemic, China-Indonesia relations are going forward against all odds.

There is no denying that our bilateral exchanges and cooperation have been affected by the pandemic like many other countries around the world. The period from February to July has seen suspension of direct flights, hindrance to people-to-people exchanges and adverse impact on exchanges and cooperation. Previously planned high-level exchanges between our governments have been put on hold while the reception and business forum to commemorate the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations is either postponed or canceled. However, our bilateral relations have kept moving forward against all odds thanks to our greater communication and joint efforts to promote mutually beneficial cooperation.

In face of this unexpected virus, China and Indonesia have come to each other's assistance and stood together to overcome the difficulties. Our two countries and peoples have built even stronger friendship, which embodies the Indonesia old saying, “Berat sama dipikul, ringan sama dijinjing”. Since the breakout, President Xi Jinping and President Joko Widodo have spoke three times on the phone and exchanged congratulatory messages on the commemorative day of diplomatic relations. Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi warmly received the visit by Indonesian Foreign Minister Ibu Retno Marsudi and Minster for SOEs Bapak Erick Thohir. Chinese State Councilor and Minister of Defense Gen. Wei Fenghe visited Indonesia. Through close communication and in-depth exchange of views, senior officials from both countries have reached important consensus on our joint response to COVID-19, business cooperation, regional cooperation, as well as other global and regional issues of mutual concerns.

Based on incomplete data, China has donated over 10 million USD worth of medial supplies to Indonesia. China also assisted Indonesia with procurement of ventilators, test kits and other medical supplies from China. At least three video conferences were held between Chinese and Indonesian experts on outbreak control and treatment, involving Indonesian medical experts from nearly 100 hospitals and health institutions. Sinovac is working with Bio Farma to conduct phase three clinical trial of COVID-19 vaccine and already signed a purchase agreement for 40 million doses before March next year.

Thanks to our concerted efforts, China remains as Indonesia's largest trading partner and second largest foreign investor in the first half of 2020. Meanwhile, bilateral trade has surpassed 35.53 billion USD with China's import increasing by over 9%. China's investment to Indonesia grew by a staggering of 172%. Steady progress has been made in strategic projects such as the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed rail and Regional Comprehensive Economic Corridors. By setting up the "Fast Track" and gradually resuming direct flights, we have facilitated personnel exchanges under health protocols and maintained industrial and supply chain, thus speeding up each other's economic recovery. Considering the current pandemic situation, this is indeed a hard-earned achievement that demonstrates the high complementarity, strong vitality and huge development potential of our bilateral cooperation.

Ⅲ. Future Development of China-Indonesia Relations

China and Indonesia are both major developing countries with huge populations and have enjoyed rapid economic growth with ever-increasing significance and influence in the region and beyond. This year marks the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations and offers a fresh start and new opportunities for bilateral relations.

It appears the pandemic is far from over and the global economy remains sluggish. While focusing on fighting the virus and promoting economic recovery, China stands ready to work with Indonesia to further enhance strategic communication and deepen exchanges and cooperation across the board.

1. Further Unite to Fight the Pandemic

To implement the consensus reached between our two Presidents, China will continue to actively support the Indonesian government in fighting the virus, and promote in-depth cooperation between our two countries' science and health departments and enterprises in vaccine research, anti-epidemic drugs, testing technologies and joint production of medical equipment, so as to jointly build a community of health for all. Under the auspices of both governments, we have confidence in a smooth and successful phase three clinical trial between China's Sinovac and Indonesia's Bio Farma, which will pave the way for local production, making Indonesia among the first countries to enjoy vaccine.

2. Jointly Speed Up Economic Recovery

China is ready to work with Indonesia to promote greater synergy between the Belt and Road and Global Maritime Fulcrum. We should push ahead major cooperation projects including the Jakarta-Bandung High Speed Rail to meet the annual target, by optimizing existing cooperation plan and mobilize various resources. We are ready to further enhance two-way trade and investment, deepen cooperation on health, business reopening and people's livelihood, as well as facilitate travel by making full use of the "fast track" arrangement, all in an effort to unleash potential for post-pandemic cooperation and further elevate the China-Indonesia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

3. Deepen People-to-people Bond

In recent years, as a result of burgeoning people-to-people exchanges, we have seen more favorable views among the general public. The Chinese side will overcome the difficulties caused by the virus and continue to host commemorative activities with the Indonesian side for our 70th anniversary of diplomatic ties and further encourage exchanges between our peoples and various sectors, so as to deepen our mutual understanding and friendship.

4. Close Coordination on Multilateral Affairs

At the 75th UN General Assembly held last week. President Xi Jinping reaffirmed our abiding commitment to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, and gave the strongest voice to safeguard the international system with the UN at its core. For how the UN should play its role in the post-COVID era. President Xi put forward four suggestions, including stand firm for justice, uphold the rule of law, promote cooperation and focus on real action, calling for the representation and voice of developing countries should be increased, the purposes and principles of the UN Charter must be unswervingly kept and upheld, the converging interests of all must be expanded and the principle of multilateralism must be put into practice by real action. President Xi appealed to all mankind to join hands to uphold the values of peace, development, equity, justice, democracy and freedom shared by all of us and to build a new type of international relations and a community with a shared future for mankind. Together, we can make the world a better place for everyone.

China and Indonesia are beneficiaries and guardians of multilateralism. President Joko Widodo also called for upholding the purposes and principles of the UN Charter at the 75th UN General Assembly. China is willing to further deepen communication and cooperation with Indonesia under the framework of UN, WTO, G20 and East Asia cooperation, and continue to uphold multilateralism and free trade, reject unilateralism, narrow-minded nationalism and hegemonism, maintain peace and stability in the region and beyond, and safeguard developing countries' legitimate rights to development. China looks forward to working with Indonesia, to deepen China-ASEAN cooperation on combating Covid-19, drive economic recovery, promote blue economy cooperation, elevate China-ASEAN relations and secure more tangible outcomes in the East Asia cooperation.

In face of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are witnessing major changes unfolding in our world, something unseen in a century. Both China and Indonesia are emerging economies that uphold strategic autonomy. As President Xi said in the congratulatory messages to President Jokowi on the 70th anniversary of the establishment of China-Indonesia diplomatic relations, China and Indonesia share broad common interests at bilateral, regional and multilateral levels and enjoy tremendous potential for cooperation. Seizing the opportunity of the 70th anniversary, China is ready to work with Indonesia to jointly fight the pandemic, restore our economies, promote bilateral relations in the new era, and make greater contribution to the peace and development in the region and beyond.

Terima Kasih!

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