Indonesia has pledged greater cooperation with China after a meeting in Beijing between presidents Joko Widodo and Xi Jinping.
The leaders said they would increase trade and economic cooperation, especially in agriculture. Jakarta is trying to increase exports while Beijing has focused on food security in recent years.
The pledges followed a rare visit to China by a foreign head of state. The country has been largely cut off to foreign visitors since early 2020 apart from Winter Olympics visitors in February that included Russia’s Vladimir Putin.
Widodo met Xi and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in Beijing on Tuesday.
The commitment by China, Indonesia’s No-1 trading partner, to deepen trade relations is an economic win for Jokowi, as the Indonesian president is widely known.
Model Strategic Partner
China hailed Indonesia as a model strategic partner, in contrast to its sharp words for the US in recent months over issues from Taiwan and Ukraine to trade practices and the South China Sea.
The countries “have acted proactively and with a strong sense of responsibility to maintain regional peace and stability,” according to the joint statement.
“They have thus set an example of major developing countries seeking strength through unity and win-win cooperation.”
Indonesia is an important source of ferro-nickel, coal, copper and natural gas for the world’s second-largest economy. In the first half of 2022, Chinese imports from Indonesia, mostly commodities, surged 34% on year, the most after Russia.
China has expressed commitment to import an additional one million tonnes of crude palm oil from Indonesia, Indonesia said.
- Reuters, with additional editing by George Russell