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Joint Interview with Chinese Ambassador Xie Feng During His Visit to Gedung Batu Temple entitled "Carry on the Zheng He Spirit and Promote Friendly Cooperation: China and Indonesia Will Always be Good Neighbors, Good Friends and Good Partners"

On November 26, Ambassador Xie Feng was invited to visit Semarang and the Gedung Batu Temple built by the local community to commemorate Zheng He. After the visit, Ambassador Xie received a joint interview at the Gedung Batu Temple.

As remarked by Ambassador Xie, he had long admired the historic city of Semarang of Indonesia. "I've come to visit here for three reasons; first, to cherish the memory of the great Chinese navigator Zheng He and review the history of friendly exchanges between China and Indonesia". Over 600 years ago, Zheng He made seven voyages to the Western Seas and stopped over at Java for 6 times. Zheng He first landed in Semarang and Sam Po Kong was his resting place. During that time, China was the most developed and powerful country in the world. But Zheng He brought not guns for plunder, but porcelain, tea and silk for trade and friendship. The Chinese crew were warmly received and local Indonesians taught them how to use traditional herbal medicine to treat diseases. Some Chinese crew even settled down in the local community. For over 600 years, Semarang has borne witness to the mutual support between our two peoples and their shared aspiration for peace, friendship and cooperation.

The second reason for Ambassador Xie's visit is to meet with people from various sectors of the Central Java Province and Semarang to discuss ways to further promote friendly exchanges and practical cooperation between China and Indonesia. During Ambassador Xie's meeting with Governor Ganjar Pranowo of Central Java, both sides agreed to enhance exchanges between China and Central Java at all levels, deepen cooperation in business, investment, tourism, infrastructure and other areas and promote people-to-people exchanges and cooperation between sister cities. Ambassador Xie also attended a gathering with representatives of the local Chinese community and expressed his appreciation and wishes for their continuing contribution to the local, socio-economic development as well as their role as a bridge for China-Indonesia friendly exchanges and cooperation.

In recent years, under the leadership of President Xi Jinping and President Jokowi, the China-Indonesia relationship has made substantial progress. Since taking office, President Jokowi has visited China 3 times and held 5 bilateral meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping. They reached the important consensus to align development strategies and promote practical cooperation. The bilateral relationship is now stronger than ever. The two countries have established three vice-premier level dialogue mechanisms, namely in political security, trade and investment as well as people-to-people exchanges, all of which are functioning smoothly. China is now the largest trading partner, largest source of foreign tourists and third largest investor for Indonesia.

The third reason for Ambassador Xie's visit is to meet and share his hopes with young Indonesians. During the visit, Ambassador Xie attended the Wahid Hasyim 2nd Annual International Seminar & Conference on Global Issues and had in-depth discussions with experts, scholars and students on issues such as world multipolarization, China-Asia relations and China-Indonesia relations. Ambassador Xie enjoyed his visit to the Chinese Corner at Wahid Hasyim University. Inaugurated in 2015, it is the first Chinese corner in Semarang and very popular among the students. Ambassador Xie was very impressed by the keen interest of young Indonesians in China and their support for China-Indonesia friendship. On behalf of the Chinese embassy, Ambassador Xie donated Chinese books and audio-video products to the Chinese Corner in hope of building a better understanding of China among the young students. As quoted by Ambassador Xie, the country rose with the rise of the young, and the country was strong when the young were strong. Ambassador Xie said if more and more young people from both countries could follow the spirit of Zheng He and devote themselves to promoting exchanges and cooperation between China and Indonesia, the friendship between two countries would surely pass on and prosper. "China and Indonesia will always be good friends, good neighbors and good partners."

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