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Full text of Chinese ambassador Xiao Qian's article on G20 summit published by the China Daily
2019/06/20

On June 18, the China Daily published a signed article by Chinese ambassador to Indonesia Xiao Qian on G20 summit. The full text is as follows:

Embracing global cooperation, fostering common development

The year 2019 marks the beginning of the second decade for the G20 summit mechanism. Looking back and forward, the highly anticipated annual G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan is of great significance to the global economy.

In today’s world, peace and development remain the theme of the times. Despite its continuous growth, the global economy still faces rising instabilities and uncertainties along with heavy downward pressure. In the new decade, and against the backdrop of rising unilateralism and protectionism that are affecting world economic stability, deep thought should be given to the direction for the development of major economies. As the Chinese ambassador to Indonesia, I offer some thoughts, taking the mutual development of China and Indonesia as an example.

China and Indonesia are both important emerging markets and key members of the G20. Both resolutely safeguard the interests of developing countries, and share a similar stance on global economic development and governance -- advocate multilateralism and oppose protectionism and unilateralism. Indonesian President Joko Widodo once used the Game of Thrones as an analogy, indicating multilateral cooperation is the only way forward instead of isolated competition to avoid an "economic winter".

Consensus on cooperation should be implemented. Principles promoted within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative or BRI are highly consistent with the development concepts of both countries. Thomas Lembong, chairman of the Indonesian Investment Coordinating Board, comments that the Belt and Road Initiative is one of the most comprehensive and effective schemes to harness opportunities presented by the current global economy, and plays the role of a growth engine.

In 2013, it was in Indonesia where President Xi Jinping for the first time proposed the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road Initiative, one of the two key prongs of BRI. Six years on, China and Indonesia are working together for the construction of BRI in earnest, which have proved to be a strong driving force for the development of both countries, and even the whole world.

First, new stage for promoting synergy between respective development strategies. President Xi and President Jokowi have met seven times in the past six years and reached consensus on a series of issues on linking the Belt and Road Initiative with Indonesia's maritime strategy. The two governments also signed cooperation MoU.

As the first high-speed railway in Southeast Asia and flagship project in the initial stage of synergizing development strategies, the Jakarta-Bandung High-speed Rail stepped into a new phase of full construction in 2018. This year saw the start of construction at 22 control and critical points. The largest tunnel boring machine in Southeast Asia is fully installed. The first tunnel breakthrough took place in Walini not long ago.

During Premier Li Keqiang's visit to Indonesia in May 2018, the two countries officially launched inter-governmental cooperation and signed a MoU on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Corridors, the flagship project in the second phase of synergizing strategies. Furthermore, the Cooperation Plan on jointly building the Regional Comprehensive Economic Corridors was signed during the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in April 2019. The cooperation, which covers four provinces of Indonesia -- North Sumatra, North Kalimantan, North Sulawesi and Bali -- further expands synergy between the two countries' development strategies and adds impetus to Indonesia's development in the outer regions.

Second, new achievements in bilateral practical cooperation. Over the past eight years, China has remained Indonesia's largest trading partner. Last year, bilateral trade reached a record of $77.4 billion. China made efforts to expand import of Indonesia’s quality products such as palm oil and tropical fruits. As a result, Indonesia's trade deficit with China narrowed further and the trade structure of the two countries was further optimized and balanced. From 2013 to 2018, China's annual direct investment in Indonesia soared from $300 million to $2.4 billion, jumping from the 12th place to the 3rd place in the ranking of Indonesia's foreign investment sources. The two sides renewed their currency swap agreement and expanded its capital pool to 200 billion yuan ($29 billion).

Infrastructure cooperation between the two countries has deepened. Under concerted efforts of both sides, some of Indonesia's major projects have been completed, including the largest steel arch bridge in Indonesia -- Tayan Bridge; the first light rail system -- Palembang Light Rail Transit; and Indonesia’s second largest dam -- Jatigede Dam. The construction of infrastructure with Chinese support contributes to Indonesia's economic growth and improvement in people's livelihood.

Cooperation is now rapidly expanding from traditional areas such as infrastructure, resources and communications to emerging areas such as industrial manufacturing, financial innovation, digital economy and artificial intelligence, in which new driving forces and growth points keep emerging.

Third, new chapter in people-to-people and cultural exchanges. In the past six years, China has been the major source of tourism for Indonesia. In 2018, the number of Chinese tourists hit another record high, reaching 2.14 million. Full scholarships offered by the Chinese government to Indonesian students have tripled in the recent six years. The number of Indonesian students studying in China exceeded 15,000 and is till increasing, making China Indonesian students’ second most popular overseas study destination. Chinese giant pandas Caitao and Huchun have settled down in Indonesia and become beloved “special envoys” for friendship.

In August 2018, President Xi’s special envoy, Vice-premier Mme. Sun Chunlan, attended the opening ceremony of Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games 2018 which is the most high-level government delegation from China for the Asian games in the past two decades. The gold medal in Wushu won by an Indonesian anthlete who trained in China marked a new achievement in sports cooperation. Science and technology cooperation in fields like high-speed rail and disaster prevention is also actively underway. The Southeast Asia Center built by Tsinghua University in Indonesia will accelerate the development of local human resources. Comprehensive and in-depth exchanges covering various areas will continue to deepen with bright prospects for future.

The common development of the two countries is not only a grand narrative of the Belt and Road Initiative contributing to the world economy, but also demonstrates that in today's world, what we need is an open global economy, not isolation; what we should advocate is cooperation, not confrontation; what we should insist on is win-win benefit, not winner-takes-all.

The leaders of China and Indonesia will gather together with leaders of other countries later this month in Osaka to discuss ways to promote world economic development. As a staunch supporter, defender and builder of multilateralism and an open global economy, China is ready to enhance cooperation with all members such as Indonesia to jointly promote strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive world economic growth.

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