By Li Hongmei
Traditional friendship between the Chinese and Indonesian people is time honored, and the two countries are good neighbors though divided by the sea, Since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1950, the bilateral ties have gone through ups and downs, but always remained on a generally sound track.
Since 1990s, the two countries' relations have been growing fast, especially in the fields of politics, economics and culture. Today, most Indonesians, who might have harbored suspicion toward China, are amazed at the economic development of the world's most populous country, whilst the Chinese people also welcome the stronger relations between the two countries.
In particular, since the establishment of China-ASEAN Free Trade Area in 2010, Indonesia has played a more visible role in the region, and more engaged with China in a wide range of affairs.
China Economic Net therefore had an exclusive interview with Mr. Wisnu Edi Pratignyo, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in Beijing, on March 28 (Monday), inviting him to comment on the bilateral relations, trade partnership and potential cooperation of the two countries.
Mr. Wisnu agreed the most productive bilateral relations is seen in the economic sector. China exports manufacturing products, such as toys, machinery, computers, food products, etc. to Indonesia, while Indonesia exports natural resources products, such as coal, nickel and CPO, to China. Many Chinese businesses have also opened manufacturing plants in Indonesia.
China has also provided financing for projects in Indonesia, such as power plant projects and bridges. The Suramadu Bridge, for instance, has become a proud landmark in China-Indonesia relations as it was mostly financed using Chinese soft loans and was jointly built by Chinese and Indonesian engineers. Most of the new power plant projects in Indonesia have been financed by Chinese banks and are being constructed by Chinese firms in partnership with Indonesian firms.
China has thus become a major financier to mega projects in Indonesia, the role played by the World Bank, ADB, Europe, Japan and the United States in the past.
During the interview, Mr. Wisnu highlighted how both countries can further strengthen the relations and how the Chinese and their culture have contributed to and enriched Indonesia's multicultural society, as the bilateral relationship is in rapid and substantial progress in the new century.
Meanwhile, the diplomat also believed the development of China-Indonesia relations has brought concrete benefits to the people of the two countries and it is also an important contribution to the regional development with further cooperation and coordination of both countries.
"Our two countries should continue to strengthen communication and coordination, deepen mutually beneficial cooperation in every aspect and make greater contributions to regional prosperity," he said.
Mr. Wisnu hoped there will be more people-to-people communication and more channels to exchange views on issues of common concern, aiming to push forward the strategic partnership between China and Indonesia.
China and Indonesia should strengthen economic and trade cooperation to respond to the global economic uncertainty.
"China and Indonesia should strengthen trade and investment cooperation and promote further development of bilateral economic ties in a bid to combat the economic crisis and contribute to the global economic recovery," Wisnu was quoted as saying in the interview.
China and Indonesia are both populous countries with big markets and the two countries have strong economic complementarity. "There are a lot of economic potential to be explored," he added.
Data from the Chinese embassy in Indonesia shows in the first nine months of 2012 the bilateral trade value reached 47.65 billion US dollars, up 10 percent despite the weak global economic outlook, and the FDI from China to Indonesia increased more than 200 percent to 450 million US dollars compared with the same period of the previous year.
China and Indonesia has established the strategic partnership in 2005, and the bilateral relations between the two countries have entered an era of development featuring more trade, investment, tourism and economic cooperation.
Mr. Wisnu believed the year 2013 is a promising year for both countries to harvest more fruitful cooperation. "2013 is a year for the Chinese to seek after and fulfill their Chinese Dream; it is also a year for both the ASEAN and Indonesia yearning for a good harvest, " he concluded.