China, Indonesia to Boost Bilateral Ties
   2012-03-24 08:30:18    China Daily      Web Editor: Zhangjin

President Hu Jintao (R) shakes hands with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono before a meeting in Beijing, March 23, 2012. [Photo: Xinhua]

China and Indonesia signed agreements on a range of issues on Friday, a sign analysts said shows the wish of both nations to push forward ties in strategically important Southeast Asia.

Chinese and Indonesian entrepreneurs also signed trade agreements worth more than $17 billion, covering projects in the fields of iron and steel, textile manufacturing, hydroelectric generation, mining and agriculture.

The deals were signed as President Hu Jintao met Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in Beijing on Friday.

This is Yudhoyono's second visit to China in seven years.

Hu said China will promote a strategic partnership with Indonesia in areas including trade and economic cooperation, defense, maritime and space, education, media, tourism, and cooperation in regional and international affairs.

The two countries will deepen defense cooperation by gradually expanding collaboration on defense and security, staging joint drills, increasing visits, combating terrorism and cross-border crimes, and safeguarding the security and peace of their own countries and the region, Hu said.

The two countries will also strengthen cooperation on regional and international issues to safeguard their common interests, he said.

Yudhoyono said Indonesia is willing to maintain close high-level contact and dialogue as well as consultation at all levels with China.

Indonesia welcomes increased investment from Chinese companies and their participation in major infrastructure projects, he said.

Yudhoyono is confident that the two countries will achieve the goal of boosting bilateral trade to $80 billion before 2015.

Bilateral trade in 2011 was about $60 billion.

Reiterating Indonesia's stance that relevant countries should address regional issues through consultation and cooperation, Yudhoyono said Indonesia is ready to step up communication and coordination with China within the regional cooperation mechanism to promote the peace, stability and prosperity of the region.

Experts said Sino-Indonesian ties are important as China is pressing ahead with its relations with Southeast Asian countries amid territorial disputes on the South China Sea and as the United States beefs up its presence in the region.

China and Indonesia enjoy good rapport on regional issues, said Su Hao, a professor on Southeast Asian studies at Beijing-based China Foreign Affairs University.

Indonesia stresses its independence in handling regional issues and rarely drags in other powers to counterbalance China's power in this region, he said.

"The two countries have many common interests and similarities in handling regional affairs," Su said.

"In addition to being an important consumer market for Chinese investments, Indonesia has also played a crucial role in navigation security in the South China Sea," Su said.

Before the two presidents met on Friday, company representatives from China and Indonesia signed 15 agreements worth more than $17.6 billion.

The deals include hydropower, iron and steel, textile, mining and agriculture, according to Wan Jifei, president of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade.

China Huadian Corporation reached an agreement worth $1.6 billion with Indonesia's PT Dharma Hydro Nusantara to develop renewable energy in Indonesia.

"Chinese companies will keep increasing their investments in Indonesia in areas of infrastructure, telecommunications and energy. The cooperation, which has great potential, will significantly promote regional prosperity," Wan said.

China shares highly complementary industrial structures with Indonesia, one of China's top overseas investment destinations, Wan said.

Ted Sioeng, secretary-general of the Chinese Committee of Indonesian Trade and Industry, said the two countries are "enjoying the best trade relations".

Indonesia has rich natural resources and a growing middle class while China is upgrading its industries and encouraging companies to go abroad for overseas investments, he said.

Yudhoyono will arrive in Hong Kong on Saturday to continue his visit for another two days, where he will meet Hong Kong Chief Executive Donald Tsang, local entrepreneurs and the Indonesian community, Xinhua News Agency reported.

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