RI, China ties based on three Gs

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Chinese government is gearing up to receive President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono during his upcoming state visit to Beijing, which is expected to add greater depth to the good bilateral relations between Indonesia and China.

China considers Indonesia to be a good friend, good neighbor and good partner (3 Gs) that plays a strong role in the region, said Fu Ying, China`s Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, to Indonesian journalists in Beijing on March 13, 2012.

"The state visit of President Yudhoyono is very important and will add a strong boost to bilateral relations between China and Indonesia," stated Ying, who had been assigned as a diplomat at the Chinese embassy in Jakarta from 1997 to 1999.

According to her, President Yudhoyono has visited China five times previously, but the upcoming state visit will be his second in an official capacity.

China encourages its people to visit Indonesia as tourists and encourages its businessmen to invest in Indonesia, she added.

"[Indonesia`s] economy is healthy. Some 50-60 percent of domestic consumption contributes to your economic growth, and Indonesia is attracting a handsome number of investments. China is very pleased with Indonesia`s economic situation," she stated.

According to Ying, Indonesia is an example of successful political and economic transitions.

"We would like to see a strong and prosperous Indonesia. (The country) plays a strong role in the region. China and Indonesia share many international issues. We feel very comfortable with our relations with Indonesia," she said, adding that the two nations have faced no serious obstacles or ill sentiments so far.

A similar viewed was expressed by Indonesian Ambassador to China Imran Cotan, who acknowledged that Indonesia sees China, one of the world`s most important economic locomotives, as an opportunity and not as a challenge.

"Many countries see China as a beautiful and rich lady, and therefore, every country wants to have a special relationship with her. It`s not surprising that not a day goes by in China without a visit from foreign high-ranking officials," Ambassador Cotan said when speaking to Indonesian journalists in Beijing on March 14, 2012.

He stated that the upcoming visit of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to Beijing, March 22-24, 2012, is very timely since it reciprocates the visit of China`s President Hu Jintao to Jakarta in 2005. During a meeting with President Yudhoyono at that time, President Jintao had invited him to visit Beijing.

President Yudhoyono is expected to have bilateral talks with the Chinese leaders. He and President Jintao will compare notes on bilateral and international relations, reaffirm each others` policies on bilateral relations and explore further cooperation.

They are also expected to issue a joint statement that will lay out a wide agenda for a future partnership, said Ying, adding that several important agreements will likely be signed during President Yudhoyono`s visit in Beijing.

China`s participation in the development of six economic corridors in Indonesia will also be high on the agenda, she stated.

One of China`s strong points is that it has plenty of experiences and skills in infrastructure development, she added.

China is committed to assisting Indonesia with the development of its infrastructure by providing a preferential export buyers` credit amounting to US$2.8 billion, of which US$1.8 billion has been used by Indonesia, said Liang Wentao, Deputy Director-General for Asian Affairs at the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, in Beijing to Indonesia`s reporters recently.

The credits were used, among other things, to construct the Suramadu bridge that connects Surabaya (East Java province) with Madura Island; it is the biggest cross-ocean bridge in Southeast Asia.

Indonesia and China have enjoyed a rapid and significant trade increase since Yudhoyono and Jintao declared a strategic partnership in Jakarta in April 2005.

"The two countries reinforced the foundation of their relationship when they signed the Strategic Partnership`s Plan of Action in 2010 and the Joint Communique in 2011 in Jakarta. The relationship will further be strengthened with Yudhoyono`s planned visit to China later this month," Ambassador Cotan said.

Trade between Indonesia and China reached US$60.5 billion, an  increase of 42 percent in 2011 from US$42.7 billion in 2010. The two countries have set a two-way trade target worth US$80 billion for 2015.

Presently, Indonesia is China`s fourth largest trade partner in the ASEAN after Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand, stated Wentao, adding that "Indonesia will one day become China`s number one trading partner in the ASEAN. It is my personal hope."

Wentao said that up until 2010, more than one thousand Chinese companies had invested a total of US$6 billion in Indonesia.

China`s investment in Indonesia was US$1 billion, according to Ambassador Cotan. He noted that the investment value did not yet reflect the actual economic capacity of China whose outward direct investment totaled US$60.1 billion.

Cotan said he was optimistic that China`s investment in Indonesia would continue to increase due to the fact that Chinese investors had a high interest in Indonesia. Indonesia is a big market and is politically stable with rich natural and human resources, he stated.

Wentao believes China attaches great importance to Indonesia as a nation. Both countries are eager to develop mutually beneficial and forward-looking economic ties and are witnessing a rapid growth in bilateral economic and trade relations.

"Our trade is very healthy and almost balanced", he said, adding that China has a deficit of some US$2 billion with Indonesia.

In the political field, Ying praised the Indonesian government`s important mediating role with the South China Sea problem, which she noted was complicated because it involved neighboring countries, and therefore, it was important to find a peaceful solution.

China hopes Indonesia will continue playing positive and constructive roles in maintaining peace in the region, she said.

In the defense field, China supports Indonesia`s military modernization by, among other things, establishing cooperation within the defense industry.

"We fully understand that adequate military forces are needed to safeguard the sovereignty and integrity of the unitary Republic of Indonesia," Chinese Ambassador to Indonesia Liu Jian Chao said in Jakarta recently.

Indonesia`s adequate military forces can support security and stability not only in Indonesia as a sovereign state but also in the region, he stated.

Defense cooperation between the two nations has existed for a long time. It was not until 2006 that the two nations held the first joint consultation forum in Jakarta followed by a bilateral

consultation forum in Beijing in 2007. The forums had assisted the two countries with enhancing their defense cooperation, as is evident from the signing of the Defense Cooperation Agreement (DCA) in 2007.

Indonesia and China are looking into the possibility of jointly producing C-705 guided missiles for the Indonesian Navy`s warships.

Indonesia has so far equipped some of its warships with C-802 guided missiles.

On March 15, 2012, Indonesia opened a Consulate General office in Shanghai.

"The opening of the Indonesian Consulate General (office) is a milestone that marks the progress of other bilateral relations between the two countries and is expected to strengthen, expand and contribute significantly to the achievement of the targets of these relations," Ambassador Cotan said at the opening ceremony in Shanghai.

The accreditation area for the Indonesian Consulate General office in Shanghai includes the city of Shanghai and the Jiangsu and Zhejiang province. Apart from Shanghai, Indonesia has Consulate General offices in Hong Kong and Guangzhou.

As stated recently in Beijing by Hong Liang, the Chinese Foreign Ministry`s Deputy Director General for Asia Affairs, the two nations urgently need to further promote economic development to bring increased welfare to their citizens.

"Our policy is that we want to become a friend, partner and also brother to Indonesia," Liang told Indonesian journalists last week.
(T. F001/INE/KR-BSR)