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Remarks by H.E. Ambassador Xie Feng At the Opening Ceremony of the "China High Speed Railway on Fast Track" Exhibition

(The Senayan City Mall, Jakarta, 13 August 2015)

Minister Ibu Rini,

Chief Engineer He Huawu,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear friends,

First, on behalf of the Chinese Embassy, a sincere welcome to all the guests from Chinese and Indonesian government agencies, business communities, think tanks and media. I also want to convey warm congratulations to the China Railway for putting together this fantastic exhibition.

There’s a well-known Chinese saying, “to get rich, build roads first”. In 2003, China launched the large-scale construction of high speed railway, starting from ground zero. Since then, China has built and operated 17,000 kilometers of high-speed railway, which is 55 percent of the world’s total. Our 300 km/h railway line is now 9,600 kilometers, around 60 percent of the world. While high speed railway carries 1.7 billion passengers every year, China alone accounts for 910 million. All these three numbers about China are above 50 percent of the world’s total. Today, China’s high speed rail network is the largest, fastest, most modernized and best managed around the globe.

China is the only country in the world which has successfully built and operated the 350 kilometer/hour railway. We are also the only country running high-speed railway in all of the frigid zone, temperate zone and tropical zone. China’s 308km-long Hainan high speed railway is the only one in its kind in the tropical zone. It has been running safely for 5 years under similar climate and geological conditions to the Jakarta-Bandung line.

The high speed railway not only brings dramatic convenience to people’s travel, but also becomes an engine of China’s economy. For more than a decade, China has grown from the sixth largest economy to the world’s number two. In 2003, China’s per capita GDP was merely around 1000 dollars. In 2014, our per capita GDP reached 7500 dollars.

High-speed railway contributes a lot to China's prosperity. Today, Indonesia’s per capita GDP has come to 3,531 dollars, far higher than that of China in 2003. I strongly believe that high-speed railway will also make a historic contribution to Indonesia’s prosperity and progress.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Now, China and Indonesia are exploring cooperation in building the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway. Earlier this week, Mr. Xu Shaoshi, Special Envoy of President Xi Jinping and Minister of National Development and Reform Commission submitted China’s feasibility study report on the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway to President Jokowi. The Chinese plan is extremely competitive and we are confident that we are Indonesia’s best partner in this regard.

First, the Jakarta-Bandung high-Speed railway constructed by China and Indonesia will promote prosperity. The booming economy and dense population of Jakarta and Bandung mean good feasibility and economic prospects of the project. According to the Bandung Institute of Technology, this high-speed railway’s daily passenger flow could be around 44,000 on average. If the fare is set to be 200,000 Rupiah, the annual fare income will be 3.2 trillion Rupiah. As the passenger flow rises over time, the revenue will be better. In fact, the 120-kilometer Beijing-Tianjin high-speed railway in China is similar to the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway. It was built within 3 years and made profit 6 years later. Another example is the 1,316 km Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway. Its construction was completed in 5 years and made profit 3 years later. In order to achieve sustainable development, China is ready to share construction and operation experience with Indonesia.

The economic benefits of the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway are obvious. The project will drive the development of supporting industries such as smelting, manufacturing, infrastructure, power generation, electronics, services and logistics. It will create jobs and increase government revenue. The newly-created jobs are about 40,000 per year during the construction period. Further commercial development will occur in the stations and the surrounding areas along the high-speed railway. Real estate and other industries will face new development opportunities. The project will promote balanced development of urban and rural areas along the route. A Jakarta-Bandung economic corridor may take shape. Tourism will be improved by the project as well. More domestic and foreign tourists will be attracted to the historic city of Bandung and have a ride on the first high-speed railway in Indonesia and entire Southeast Asia with a speed of 350 km per hour.

Second, the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway will improve people’s life. The high-speed railway will connect the central areas of Jakarta and Bandung and cut short the travel time from 3 to 5 hours to only 36 minutes. This will create a real ‘one-city effect’.

Jakarta is a dynamic, prosperous capital, while Bandung is well known for its cool weather and historic legacy. If the Jakarta-Bandung high speed railway is in place, I believe many of our guests present today would fulfill the dream of living in Bandung and working in Jakarta.

According to the Chinese feasibility study, this high-speed railway will have 3 stations in Jakarta. Gambir is a major station in the executive zone next to Monas, with a large passenger flow. Manggarai is a railway hub also with a large passenger flow. Halim is close to airport and will connect with the planned light rail project, enabling citizens of the south-eastern part of Jakarta to access the high speed rail. The aforementioned station layout will make it easy for Jakarta people of different regions and income groups to take the high speed railway.

Meanwhile, with more than 10 kilometers in town, the high speed railway will also alleviate the urban traffic congestion in Jakarta. The high speed railway is electric-powered. It’s an economical and environment-friendly mode of transportation able to save energy, cut emission and reduce pollution along the route.

I am aware of some of your concerns about quality and safety of high speed railway, many even recall the train accident in China in 2011. High speed rail provides public transport and involves people’s lives. I can say responsibly that whether it is in or out of China, we view quality and safety as a lifeline of high speed rail construction. We could come to a more objective conclusion if we compare the number of accidents with total mileage.

For example, I drive less than 30 minutes every week with no accident record. While my full-time driver drives every day for 10 years and unfortunately had one accident one day. Is it fair to say that I have better driving skills than my driver? Of course not. Now, 7,000 pairs of passenger trains are running in China every day. 3,000 of them are high-speed trains. In fact, according to the International Union of Railways, during the past decade, the Chinese railway’s casualty ratio per one billion kilometer person is 0.02. That’s the lowest among all countries across the globe. The Jakarta-Bandung high speed railway would be constructed by an “all star” team of Chinese and Indonesian state-owned enterprises. We will stick to the highest standards, apply the most advanced technologies and ensure it’s 100 percent safe.

Third, the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway will become a win-win project. Chinese and Indonesian state-owned enterprises will establish a joint venture to build and operate this high-speed railway. Compared with EPC or other models, this joint venture approach has the following advantages at least.

First, it meets Indonesia’s needs and requires no government budget or sovereign guarantee, thus imposing no fiscal pressure for Indonesia.

Second, Indonesia holds a 60-percent majority stake and China holds the other 40 percent. This is a profit-sharing and risk-sharing arrangement in which our two sides’ interests and destinies are truly interwoven. We are in the same boat. We will either sail together or sink and get drowned together

Third, the financing conditions, total price and financial internal rate of return proposed by the Chinese side are moderate. The purpose is to ensure the project sustainability. The Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway can be seen as a baby of our two sides. He will be born and raised in Indonesia. Since Indonesia is a majority stakeholder, this baby will have an Indonesian name, such as Bagus. I’m confident China and Indonesia will be loving and caring parents. Our number one priority is to ensure the baby’s health and growth, rather than to rush him to make money to support family.

China has five goals in building the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway. First, in the construction of the railway, we will make maximum use of Indonesia’s raw materials, machinery and equipment and hire as many management, technical personnel and workers as possible in Indonesia. According to our estimate, this project will create 40,000 jobs every year and the Indonesian content will make up 60 percent.

Second, we will help Indonesia train a team of professionals on high-speed railway design, management and operation. To do so, we have signed a human resources training agreement with Indonesian enterprises. Indonesian engineering, electrical, maintenance workers and management staff could come to China for training at any time.

Third, we will help Indonesia build up capacities of high-speed railway equipment assembly and production. We have reached a framework agreement in local production and technology transfer.

Fourth, we will help Indonesia to establish standard systems in high-speed railway product, management and technology.

Fifth, we will work with Indonesia to export our high-speed railway equipment to Southeast Asia and other markets. It’s noteworthy that the Chinese high-speed railway technology is in line with the standards of the International Organization for Standardization, the International Electrotechnical Commission and the International Union of Railways. And they are compatible with the technology standards of Alstom, Siemens and Bombardier. If the Chinese technology is adopted, Indonesia’s high-speed railway market will remain open for other companies. In the future, Indonesia could be free to look beyond China and choose other equipment, technology and service providers, such as those from Europe.

However, some country’s technology is not compatible with international standards, which may lead to technology and market monopoly. After that technology is adopted, even if Indonesia does not like it any more, you will have no choice but to continue to bear the high cost of parts, components, maintenance and repair from that country. Which of these two scenarios are in Indonesia’s best interest? I trust our Indonesian friends will make the right judgment.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This upcoming August 17th will be the 70th anniversary of Indonesia’s independence. We hope to break ground with Indonesia for the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway in this symbolic year and symbolic month.

60 years ago, under the leadership of President Soekarno, Indonesia hosted the Bandung Conference and made historic contribution to world peace and cooperation. Today, under the leadership of President Jokowi, the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway will speed up Indonesia’s economic growth, deliver benefits to the Indonesian people, and write a new chapter in the history of Indonesia.

The high-speed railway will be a new landmark of China-Indonesia comprehensive strategic partnership, and a new starting point in our infrastructure, industrial and investment cooperation. It will forge a new bond that brings our two nations even closer, and become a historic witness to the Chinese people’s commitment to work with the Indonesian people for common development and shared prosperity. China and Indonesia will always be good neighbors, good friends and good partners.

Thank you!

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