Jakarta (ANTARA) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi), at an audience with Papua's students on Friday, spoke at length about the reasoning behind the decision to relocate the national capital from Jakarta to East Kalimantan.

The president's explanation, conveyed to the audience at a hotel in Jayapura City, Papua, aimed to respond to queries put forth by elementary school student Kesia Olivia Ergor regarding the reason behind the new capital not being in Papua instead.

According to the written statement received here, the president began his interaction with the audience by testing the students' numerical skills. Thereafter, he opened a question-and-answer session and invited students to pose queries to him.

"Why the national capital is not relocated to Papua?" Ergor, who hailed from Sorong City, asked the president.

"Indonesia is a vast country spanning from Papua to Aceh, from Sabang to Merauke. Yes, this country is vast," Jokowi stated.

Taking into account Indonesia's vast territory, the government decided to establish the new capital in Kalimantan Island, he remarked.

He explained that the new capital site in the central part of Indonesia allows it to be accessed conveniently from any part of the country.

"If the new capital is in Papua, it will be very far from Aceh, and they would need nine hours by air to come here. It will take weeks if they travel by sea," the president explained.

"Hence, we decided that the new capital site would be at the centre, and we are developing Nusantara City in Kalimantan. It is in the centre, close to Papua or from Aceh, as well as from the north or southern (part of Indonesia)," he remarked.

Jokowi then praised the elementary school students, saying that they were intelligent and courageous. He then encouraged the students to always be motivated to study.

"Students in Papua are intelligent and courageous. Hope you all will always be motivated to study, okay," the president stated.

He also expressed gratitude to the students, who participated in the audience, and wished them a safe trip while returning to their hometowns.

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Translator: Rangga Pandu AJ, Nabil Ihsan
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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