News China, Indonesia pledge deeper ties on trade and food security

China, Indonesia pledge deeper ties on trade and food security

Indonesian President Joko Widodo met Chinese Premier Li Keqiang during his visit to Beijing. Photo: EPA
Twitter Facebook Reddit Pinterest Email

The leaders of China and Indonesia have pledged to scale up bilateral trade and expand co-operation in areas such as agriculture and food security following a rare visit to COVID-wary China by a foreign head of state.

China and Indonesia believed their relations have great strategic significance and far-reaching global influence, the Chinese foreign ministry said on Tuesday after a meeting of the countries’ leaders.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo met Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang in Beijing.

The last time China hosted foreign leaders was during the Winter Olympics in February, with Russian President Vladimir Putin among those who visited Beijing in a highly guarded bubble.

Travel by foreign dignitaries to China has been exceedingly rare since the new coronavirus pandemic broke out more than two years ago, with Chinese borders largely shut due to domestic COVID concerns.

Indonesia, one of China’s biggest trading partners, is an important source of ferronickel, 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 more than 34 per cent on year, the most after Russia.

China has expressed commitment to import an additional one million tonnes of crude palm oil from Indonesia, said the Indonesian state palace after a meeting between Mr Jokowi and Mr Li.

Mr Jokowi met Mr Li and Mr Xi at the historic Diaoyutai State Guesthouse, part of a sprawling complex of villas, lakes and gardens where many foreign leaders, including US president Richard Nixon, have been received.

As president of the G20 this year Mr Jokowi has sought to mend rifts within the group exposed by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Last month he travelled to Ukraine to meet President Volodymyr Zelensky and also to Moscow to hold talks with Mr Putin.

Mr Jokowi said Indonesia was willing to be a “communication bridge” between the two.

China, while not condemning its strategic partner Russia for the invasion, has repeatedly called for a cessation of hostilities and has offered to help promote peace talks.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, who was part of the travelling delegation, said Xi had appreciated Mr Jokowi’s peace efforts such as his trips to Kyiv and Moscow.