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Jokowi and Xi witness trial of China-made high-speed train in Indonesia

The Jakarta-Bandung railway is expected to be operational in June 2023.

Jokowi and Xi witness trial of China-made high-speed train in Indonesia

Chinese President Xi Jinping, left, is greeted by the Indonesian President Joko Widodo during the formal welcome ceremony to mark the beginning of the G20 Summit on Nov 15, 2022 in Bali, Indonesia. (Photo: AP/Leon Neal)

NUSA DUA, Indonesia: Indonesia's President Joko Widodo and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping witnessed the operational trial of a China-made high-speed train on Wednesday (Nov 16). 

The two leaders watched a livestream of the trial for the Jakarta-Bandung train at the end of the Group of 20 (G20) Leaders’ Summit in Bali, where they also held bilateral talks. 

When the high-speed rail starts operations in June next year, it will be the fastest train in Southeast Asia and also Indonesia’s first fast-train rail link.

“We have seen the completion of the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed rail project and I am optimistic that this high-speed train can operate in June 2023,” said Mr Widodo. 

The high-speed rail link is part of China’s landmark Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) project.

“Watching the trial operation of the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed train and the video about China and Indonesia’s strategic cooperation, all of these are real achievements that not only provide prosperity to the people of the two countries but also provide positive results at the regional and global levels,” said Mr Xi. 

The train will cut travel time from Jakarta to Bandung from more than three hours down to about 40 minutes, while covering a distance of 142km.

The train's maximum speed will be 350kmh and it is projected to carry 30,000 passengers daily. 

There will be 11 of these electric passenger trains and one inspection train, all built by CRRC Qingdao Sifang, a subsidiary of state-owned China Railway Rolling Stock.

The high-speed railway initiative began in 2015 and was initially targeted for completion in 2019. 

But the project faced delays due to issues over land acquisition as well as COVID-19 restrictions.  

The cost was originally expected to be about 66.76 trillion rupiah (US$4.48 billion) but has since ballooned to 113 trillion rupiah.

Both leaders expressed hope for more cooperation.

"I chose Indonesia as the first country I visited after the 20th national congress of the Chinese Communist Party was completed,” said Mr Xi, referring to last month's event, where he secured a historic third term. 

“This proves the important position of China-Indonesia relations in our respective foreign policies," he added.

Several new Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) were also signed on Wednesday, spanning research and innovation around Indonesian and Chinese plants and medicines, as well as the digital economy. 

The value and exact details of the MoUs were not revealed.

Source: CNA/ks(jo)
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