Xi Jinping, Joko Widodo to test Indonesia’s China-made high-speed train after G20 meeting in Bali
- Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway worth US$7.8 billion is a joint venture between an Indonesian consortium of state-owned companies and China Railway
- Project has been plagued by delays and cost overruns, and is not expected to be operational until June 2023
With a maximum speed of 350kph, the bullet train will shorten the 142km journey between the cities to about 40 minutes from 3.5 hours by the existing rail network.
But Budi said the two leaders won’t be experiencing the thrill of a high-speed rail when they go on the 15km trip in Bandung as the car will only move at 60kmh.
“We will not yet run on full speed – we have not reached that stage yet in the development,” he said.
The project also faces a cost overrun of about US$2 billion, bumping up the estimated price to 113 trillion rupiah (US$7.84 billion), Dwiyana Slamet Riyadi, president director of PT KCIC, told a parliamentary hearing in February.
Because of the plan to move the capital from Jakarta to Borneo island in 2024, trains connecting the cities are expected to carry about 31,000 passengers per day, about half the previous daily estimate of some 61,000, Riyadi said.
During his July visit to Beijing – Jakarta’s third-largest investor – Widodo and Xi affirmed their commitment to finish the high-speed rail project. They also agreed to strengthen bilateral and economic engagements despite repeated incursions by Chinese fishing vessels into the Natuna Islands that have strained relations between the countries, which is otherwise largely positive.
Indonesia sees Chinese activities within the Natunas EEZ as illegal fishing, while Beijing claims they are “traditional fishing grounds”.