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Indonesia, China launch Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway project

WALINI, Indonesia, Jan. 21 (Xinhua) -- Indonesia's first ever high-speed railway project kicked off Thursday in Walini, West Java Province, marking a major achievement in railway cooperation between China and Indonesia.

Chinese State Councilor Wang Yong, who attended the groundbreaking ceremony for the project, read a congratulatory message from Chinese President Xi Jinping to Indonesian President Joko Widodo at the ceremony.

Xi said in the message that the successful launch of the project not only set a new record in pragmatic cooperation between China and Indonesia, it will also become a new model for bilateral cooperation in various fields, particularly in infrastructure and production capacity.

In the message, Xi expressed the hope that the two sides further strengthen their joint efforts to ensure the smooth construction and due completion of the project, adding that as the first high-speed railway in Indonesia and Southeast Asia, the project will greatly benefit local economic development.

On the same occasion, Joko Widodo said "This is a great project jointly pushed by Indonesian and Chinese governments," and he expects further cooperation between Indonesia and China could be more intense.

"I hope this project could bring benefit to local people both in the short and long term," said Joko Widodo, adding that the project is part of the nation's efforts to pursue competitiveness.

Chinese State Councilor Wang Yong said that the Jakarta-Bandung Railway will not only open a new chapter for the development of the High Speed Train in Indonesia, but will also further boost bilateral relations.

"China hopes to take the project as an opportunity to actively participate in the development of Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway economic belt, and enhance the bilateral cooperation in various areas including investment, production capacity, electricity, finance, in an effort to promote common development and prosperity of the two countries," said Wang.

The high-speed railway, linking the capital Jakarta and the fourth largest city of Bandung, has a distance of approximately 150 km. Travel time between the two cities will be cut from more than three hours at present to less than 40 minutes once the project is finished.

China Railway Co. Ltd signed a deal last October with Indonesian state-owned enterprises to form a joint venture in constructing and operating the railway.

After inauguration, the Indonesian president, the Chinese state councilor and West Java Governor Ahmad Heryawan inspected the readiness of equipment to carry out the project.

Conveying a brief summary of the high-speed railway project in the event, the president director of Indonesia-China joint firm to run the high-speed train KCIC (PT Kereta Cepat Indonesia-China), Hanggoro Budi Wiryawan, said that the project is expected to be ready to serve in early 2019.

"The project would use local components up to 63 percent, employ 39,000 workers during the construction period with employment priority on domestic workers," said Hanggoro.

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