Japan set to rival China in RIâ€™s infrastructure development
Abdul Khalik. The Jakarta Post, Jakarta - 11/10/2011
Japan’s recently appointed Foreign Minister Koichiro Genba is slated to visit Indonesia this Friday with a probable agenda of putting Japan on a par with China in Indonesia’s infrastructure development.
Indonesia’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Michael Tene, said that Genba would meet his Indonesian counterpart Marty Natalegawa to discuss ways to strengthen bilateral ties and cooperation in tackling regional and international issues.
“They will discuss bilateral relationships between both countries and review cooperation in various sectors, cooperation in a regional context such as through the Association of Southeast Asian Nations [ASEAN] while also talking about ways to handle international issues that have become common concerns for both countries,” Michael said.
A visit to Indonesia is part of Genba’s trip to key Southeast Asian countries that also include Singapore and Malaysia.
The infrastructure agenda will be a theme in Genba’s visit to Indonesia where he will also meet presidential-advisory board member Ginanjar Kartasasmita.
Quoting a Japanese official, the Business Times reported on Monday that Indonesia and Malaysia were “the most important target countries” for infrastructure packages as Japan is eager to promote the utilization of its technology in the development of “smart communities, electronic toll collection and broadband” and other areas.
With infrastructure continuing to be a stumbling block in attracting investment across the archipelago, the Indonesian government is looking for funding for various infrastructure developments throughout the nation.
China, through its private and public involvement, has aggressively invested in or provided loans for Indonesian infrastructure development in partnerships with central and local government.
Recent reports, for instance, have revealed that China has invested in bridge and road projects.
In Kendari, Southeast Sulawesi, it helped build a bridge with a total investment of US$80 million while it also financed a bridge in Tayan, Kalimantan, with a total investment of $65 million.
The country is also involved in the development of the Medan — Kualanamu toll road with a total investment of $475 million and the Cisunduwu toll road with a total investment of $250 million.
Earlier in New York, Gemba met with Marty on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting.
Gemba, who assumed his post on Sept. 2, agreed with Marty to closely cooperate in trying to produce better documents after summit talks in November of the 10-member ASEAN and other partners in the run-up to the East Asia Summit in Bali in November.
Regarding the 16-member East Asia Summit, the two ministers confirmed that their countries would seek specific steps for collaboration by strengthening common concepts and rules in the region through further efforts on political and security issues, according to officials.
The two also agreed to boost cooperation in disaster preparedness and work out future-oriented joint declarations and action plans between Japan and ASEAN in this field, they said.
Gemba and Marty confirmed the necessity of reforming the UN Security Council, the officials said.