Form Special Team, Indonesia's Quest for Whoosh Extension with China's Support

Form Special Team, Indonesia's Quest for Whoosh Extension with China's Support
Credit: Rizki Fajar Novanto

After the meeting between the Chinese Foreign Minister and Indonesia's Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, there has been a great deal of attention on the outcome of the meeting. 

Both Indonesia and China agreed to set up a special team to closely monitor the development of the ambitious high-speed railway project between Jakarta and Surabaya. Moreover, this project is an extension of the previously agreed Jakarta-Bandung (Whoosh) high-speed railway project.

The agreement was reached at the 4th High-Level Dialogue and Cooperation Mechanism (HDCM) Summit between Indonesia and the People's Republic of China (PRC) held in Labuan Bajo, East Nusa Tenggara on April 19. This annual event focuses on bilateral trade and investment cooperation and provides critical momentum to move the project forward. 

During the meeting, Minister Luhut represented Indonesia, while the PRC delegation was led by Foreign Minister Wang Yi. The agenda included discussions on the Jakarta-Surabaya high-speed railway project and various other issues.

During the dialogue, Luhut emphasized that the 142-kilometer Whoosh high-speed railway between Jakarta and Bandung is a testimony of the highly successful cooperation under the China-led Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). He also hoped that China would continue to provide significant financial attention and support to this project through various institutions such as China Development Bank (CDB) and China Railway Engineering Corporation (CREC), while enhancing technology transfer for ongoing projects.

Luhut emphasized the importance of involving China in this high-speed railway development based on the success of the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway project. With China's experience, he believes project costs can be more manageable, allowing the government to be efficient in downstream activities and reduce raw material imports. Cooperation with China also allows the government to continue the development of the Jakarta-Surabaya high-speed railway without major changes.

The plan to extend Whoosh to Surabaya has been in the works since 2023. President Joko Widodo reiterated his support for the completion of the feasibility study during a meeting with Wang at the Presidential Palace in Jakarta on Thursday.

Earlier, Minister Luhut revealed that the average daily passenger traffic has reached 15,000 in the past three months and continues to grow. During the recent Eid holiday peak, the number of passengers reached 21,422, an increase of 34%. He sees this as concrete evidence of the need to extend the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway project to Surabaya.

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