Author Topic: China wants closer ties with Indonesia, says Premier Li Keqiang  (Read 1943 times)


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China wants closer ties with Indonesia, says Premier Li Keqiang
Published: Feb 9, 2018, 11:30 pm SGT
Updated: Feb 10, 2018, 5:56 am
Goh Sui Noi
China Bureau Chief

BEIJING - Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has said his country wants to work closely with Indonesia to better link its Belt and Road Initiative to the South-east Asian nation's development strategy.

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Indonesia has an ambitious infrastructure building plan and President Joko Widodo in May last year attended an international forum in Beijing to promote the Belt and Road Initiative, a huge plan to build transport and other infrastructure in countries and regions along land and sea routes from China to Europe.

China's investments and aid to Indonesia have increased significantly, particularly in infrastructure projects ranging from bridges and roads to power plants and high-speed rail.

Last year, China was the third-largest foreign investor in Indonesia with investments amounting to US$3.4 billion (S$4.5 billion).

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The two countries have strong economic ties, with China being Indonesia's largest trading partner. Two-way trade in 2016 exceeded US$52 billion and hit US$63.4 billion last year, an increase of 17 per cent.

However, Indonesia has a deficit with China and Ms Retno told the media on Friday that Indonesia wants balanced trade with China.

Indonesia's central bank, Bank Indonesia, last month opened a representative office in Beijing, the ninth foreign central bank to start an office in China.

Its governor Agus Martowardojo said this was "to further optimise the economic and financial relations between the two countries and improve understanding of economic and financial developments and policies in China and the implications for Indonesia".

Apart from economics and bilateral ties, Ms Retno also discussed with Chinese leaders Asean and the regional architecture.

She told the media after her meetings that negotiations between Asean and China on a Code of Conduct to manage South China Sea disputes would begin next month.

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