Jakarta (ANTARA) - Indonesia is open to Papua New Guinea's (PNG's) cooperation interest and will allow it to study its mineral industry downstreaming process, President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has said.

After inspecting the Zone 9 food estate corn field in Keerom district, Papua, on Thursday, the President noted that both Indonesia and PNG have abundant mineral wealth.

"After seeing Indonesia's nickel stock that provides enormous added value to up to 30 times, PNG wants to see the step-by-step (downstreaming) process, and Indonesia is open to that," he said in a broadcast on the Presidential Secretariat's YouTube channel.

He further said he will allow PNG to observe the industrial downstreaming process in Indonesia, including for nickel in Morowali and Weda Bay, copper in Gresik, and bauxite in Bintan.

PNG has also been invited to explore cooperation potential for the downstreaming process with state-owned or private Indonesian companies, he added.

"Everything is there, and we will open it. If they want to cooperate with state-owned enterprises or private companies or not cooperate at all, it is fine. We will always be open for them," he emphasized.

He said that such cooperation is essential to advance development in the Global South.

Meanwhile, bilateral relations between Indonesia and PNG will be improved, he added. This will be realized through concrete initiatives, such as the development of economic zones on the Indonesia-PNG border that will have outstanding trade potential.

"If we see, for instance, in Skouw (in Papua), the trade value there reached US$300 million -- it is for Skouw and Wutung (in PNG) alone. If we develop similar economic zones, it will be better. We offered this yesterday, and PNG agreed to it," he disclosed.

Earlier, after a meeting with Prime Minister James Marape at Port Moresby during his visit to Papua New Guinea on July 5, 2023, President Widodo said that Indonesia and PNG have agreed to the drafting of a road map for development cooperation for the next five years.

Besides reiterating Indonesia's commitment to assisting PNG in developing several infrastructures, such as hospitals, fire stations, and schools, Widodo also highlighted the nation's dedication to advancing cooperation with Pacific countries, including PNG.

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Translator: Indra Arief P, Nabil Ihsan
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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