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Remarks by Ambassador Xiao Qian at Seminar on China-Indonesia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership

Selamat Pagi!

Today, it is my great pleasure to attend this timely and relevant seminar as we celebrate the 5th Anniversary of China-Indonesia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. To begin with, my heartfelt thanks goes to the CSIS, Tenggara Strategics and Prasetiya Mulya University for hosting this event. I would also like to thank our guests, especially those who have traveled a long way from China for this seminar. I look forward to your insights and wisdom on building an even brighter future for our bilateral relations.

Half a decade ago, leaders of the two countries agreed to elevate the strategic relationship to comprehensive strategic partnership. Since then, thanks to the concerted efforts of both sides, especially the strong leadership of President Xi Jinping and President Joko Widodo, the comprehensive strategic partnership has enjoyed solid and steady development and is stepping onto a new stage of fast growth. Here, I would like to share the following highlights:

First, new heights for bilateral high-level exchanges. The past 5 years have witnessed the most frequent high-level engagement since the establishment of bilateral ties. In that period, President Xi Jinping visited Indonesia twice and President Joko Widodo visited China 5 times. Their strong leadership has been fundamental to the continuing growth of our bilateral ties. Not long ago, President Xi and President Jokowi held their 7th bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the 26th APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting and reached new important consensus on further deepening bilateral ties and cooperation. In this past May, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang made Indonesia the first stop of his first overseas visit after re-appointed for a second term. This year, assigned by President Joko Widodo as his special envoy, the Indonesian Government’s Coordinator for Cooperation with China, Bapak Luhut visited China 3 times to promote synergy between development strategies. Indonesian Foreign Minister Ibu Retno also made an official visit to China. The two sides have maintained regular communication and enhanced cooperation on political security, business, investment and people-to-people exchanges through mechanisms at various levels including the three Vice-Premier Level Dialogue Mechanisms.

Second, the aligning of development strategies has entered a new phase. Over the past 5 years, leaders of both countries have consolidated the political consensus on aligning the Belt and Road Initiative with Global Maritime Fulcrum and kick-started relevant cooperation. Launched 2 years ago as the first flagship project, the Jakarta-Bandung High Speed Rail has made significant and continuous progress. It has already entered the stage of full implementation. This past May, our two governments officially began cooperation on jointly building the Regional Comprehensive Economic Corridors, an initiative by President Joko Widodo covering North Sumatra, North Kalimantan, North Sulawesi and Bali. The relevant cooperation will not only expand the aligning of development strategies but also create new drivers of shared development in the remote areas. Just this past October, our two governments officially signed the MoU on jointly promoting cooperation under the framework of Belt and Road Initiative and Global Maritime Fulcrum, which marks a new milestone of our aligning of development strategies.

Third, practical cooperation has achieved new results. In 5 years, Chinese FDI in Indonesia has grown exponentially from 300 million US dollars to 3.36 billion US dollars, elevating China’s investment ranking from 12th to the 3rd place. China remains as Indonesia’s largest trading partner and has taken steps to expand import of Indonesia’s quality products so as to promote balanced development of trade. For instance, 36 Indonesian enterprises attended the first China International Import Expo recently held in Shanghai and registered a total turnover of 4.74 billion US dollars. Our bilateral cooperation in the infrastructure sector continues to deepen, as evidenced by the completion of several large-scale projects such as the Jatigede Dam, the second largest dam in Indonesia, the Tayan Bridge, the longest steel arch bridge in Indonesia and the Palembang Light Rail Transit, the first-ever light rail transit system in Indonesia. Those major projects further contributed to Indonesia’s economic growth. Most recently, our two governments renewed the bilateral currency swap agreement and further expanded its pool to 200 billion RMB. Our leaders also reached new consensus on expanding import of Indonesia’s palm oil and exploring financing cooperation for palm tree re-plantation. Now, our cooperation is expanding from traditional sectors including infrastructure, resources and communications to such emerging sectors as industrial manufacturing, finance, e-commerce and artificial intelligence. New drivers of cooperation keep emerging with each passing day.

Fourth, people-to-people exchanges has opened a new chapter. In the past 5 years, we have harvested a lot through exchanges in tourism, education, media, think tank, youth, religion, technology, sport, and many other areas. In 2017, Chinese tourists made 2.06 million visits to Indonesia, a 275% increase compared to 5 years ago. China became the biggest source of overseas tourists to Indonesia. Meanwhile, more than 15,000 Indonesian students now study in China, and the number keeps growing, making China one of the favorite education destinations for Indonesian students. The number of fully-funded scholarships offered by the Chinese Government for Indonesian students, has increased from 49 in 2013 to 215 in 2018. China’s giant pandas Caitao and Huchun came to Indonesia, serving as a bridge of friendship between our two peoples. The Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games in past August was an amazing success for Indonesia. Chinese President Xi Jinping sent Vice Premier Ibu Sun Chunlan as his special envoy, to celebrate the opening ceremony with Indonesia. This is the highest level of government delegation China has sent to Asian Games in the past 20 years. This past October, Tsinghua University broke the ground for construction of its South East Asia Center in Kula Kula Island in Bali, adding a new platform for jointly talent training.

Fifth, bilateral cooperation on international and regional issues has reached new heights. For half a decade, China and Indonesia have strengthened cooperation and coordination on major international and regional affairs, and maintained close cooperation and mutual support on major issues regarding our respective concerns and common interests of developing countries. For instance, the two sides have kept sound coordination in supporting the State of Palestine, properly handling the issue of Rohingyas, upholding peace and stability in the South China Sea, combating terrorism, promoting and upgrading the China-ASEAN relations, and other regional issues. We have also maintained close coordination and communication under such multilateral frameworks as UN, APEC, G20 and WTO on major issues including UN Security Council reform, human rights, sustainable development, free trade, and global governance. In 2015, President Xi Jinping attended the Asian-African summit and commemorative activities for the historic 1955 Bandung Conference upon invitation of President Joko Widodo, in an effort to support Indonesia in playing a bigger role in international affairs.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Based on strategic and long-term thinking, the leaders of both countries made the political decision to establish China-Indonesia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. This comprehensive strategic partnership demonstrates not only the current status, but also the future direction of China-Indonesia relationship. I would like to use three keywords to help you understand and have a keen grasp of this relationship.

One is “Comprehensive”. Our bilateral cooperation on political security, trade and investment, people-to-people exchanges, as well as regional and global issues are advancing side by side. While the existing cooperation continues to deepen, new areas and drivers of cooperation keep emerging. As a result of such strong momentum, our bilateral relationship is constantly expanding and being enriched.

Second is “Strategic”. As important emerging economies, China and Indonesia are both members of G20 and APEC. Our bilateral coordination and cooperation in multilateral platforms, play a leading role in advancing regional cooperation and maintaining world peace. Our relationship has a relevance well beyond bilateral scope, East Asia, or even Asia. It is of increasing global significance.

Third is “Partnership”. China and Indonesia are both major developing countries. We are at a similar development stage, therefore face similar tasks and challenges. Now, the converging point of our respective development strategies has been translated into cooperation consensus, actions and outcomes. China and Indonesia are becoming partners who work together for common development.

Ladies and gentlemen,

In the first five years, China-Indonesia comprehensive strategic partnership is off to a very good start. Looking into the future, we should work together to achieve steady and sustained growth of this important relationship. Today I look forward to your knowledge and insights on this important topic. Here, I would like to share with you some of my thoughts.

First, promote political engagement as a driving force for our relationship. Our two countries should keep the momentum of high-level exchanges, deepen and cement strategic mutual trust, and promote dialogues and communication at various levels, therefore produce powerful political guidance and policy support for the growth of the China-Indonesia relationship.

Second, unleash the potentials of practical cooperation. We should continue to promote synergy between the Belt and Road Initiative of China and the Global Maritime Fulcrum vision of Indonesia. We should work for substantial progress on the two major flagship projects, namely the Jakarta-Bandung High-speed Rail and Regional Comprehensive Economic Corridors. We should continue to expand export of Indonesia’s palm oil, tropical fruits and other quality products to China. Plus, more efforts should be made to promote bilateral cooperation in emerging and strategic sectors such as digital economy, human resources, industrialization 4.0, finance, technology, agriculture and defense.

Third, boost people-to-people exchanges. The key to sound relations between states lies in the affinity between their peoples. We should make consistent efforts to expand and deepen our people-to-people exchanges, for instance, between think tanks, media, youth, religions, sport and tourism, so as to increase public support for China-Indonesia relations.

Fourth, strengthen coordination in multilateral platforms. We should reinforce our coordination in the UN, WTO, G20 and other multilateral frameworks to uphold the common interests of our two countries and the developing world, and promote peaceful development of our region and beyond.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The China-Indonesia relationship cannot grow without your support. I hope you have an elaborate and free discussion today, and contribute your wisdom to the development of the China-Indonesia relationship. I wish the seminar a great success.

Thank you. Terima Kasih !

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