Jakarta (ANTARA) - State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) Minister Erick Thohir accompanied President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) on a working visit to China, on Monday, to discuss the development plan of the Surabaya fast train, among other matters.

Thohir, along with Trade Minister Zulkifli Hasan and Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung, will accompany Jokowi to attend the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation and meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, Zhao Leji.

The two presidents will discuss several priority issues, such as boosting Indonesian exports, increasing investment, and building food security.

"We will also raise an in-depth discussion for the sustainability of the high-speed train from Bandung to Surabaya, which is currently being studied. We also want to improve the cooperation structure, whether ownership, interest, and others," he noted in a statement on Monday.

The SOEs minister also expressed keenness to include state-owned rolling stock company PT Industri Kereta Api (INKA), as part of the Bandung-Surabaya Fast Train Project.

He noted that PT INKA earlier built the Integrated Light Rail Transit (LRT), with inputs from the community.

In addition, Thohir emphasized the need to add a Domestic Component Level (TKDN) in the Bandung-Surabaya fast train project to bring consistency in PT INKA's involvement.

"In order to increase TKDN in the Bandung-Surabaya fast train project, we will involve PT INKA. Thus, many parties will be developed with the project," he remarked.

At the meeting with China, discussions will also cover efforts to improve the structure of cooperation, including the ownership and interest rates, he revealed.

"If we want to become a developed country, we must have sufficient infrastructure, such as toll roads, trains, ports, airports, and others, which will definitely take time. Building infrastructure takes time," he stressed.

Earlier, Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi stated that his ministry has included the plan for the Surabaya high-speed railway in its blueprint.

With the success of the Jakarta-Bandung fast train operation, his ministry is confident about designing the upcoming, more efficient fast train project with certain variables, he remarked.

The fast train is expected to cut travel time between Jakarta to Surabaya to 3.5 hours, from the earlier 11 hours by train in a distance of more than 700 kilometers.

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Translator: Maria Cicilia Galuh P, Resinta Sulistiyandari
Editor: Sri Haryati
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