Xi welcomes ties with Indonesia during visit

Chinese President Xi Jinping praised ties with Indonesia, laying out a vision for regional peace during his meeting with President-elect Prabowo Subianto amid tensions with other Southeast Asian neighbors.

Prabowo is making his first visit to Jakarta's key trading partner since his election victory last month.

China is one of Indonesia's biggest sources of foreign direct investment and has poured billions of dollars into projects in the island nation.

During the talks in Beijing, Xi told Prabowo that bilateral ties "have entered a new stage of jointly building a community with a common future," state broadcaster CCTV reported.

China "wishes to deepen comprehensive strategic cooperation with Indonesia and build a Sino-Indonesian community with ... regional and global influence so as to bring more benefits to the two peoples and make positive contributions to regional and global peace and development," Xi said.

In recent years, Chinese companies have invested in Indonesian natural resource extraction, particularly in the nickel sector, where Beijing's spending has caused ripples over pay and working conditions.

Last year, Jakarta inaugurated Southeast Asia's first high-speed railway, also a multibillion-dollar project backed by Beijing.

Xi hailed the railway initiative as a "golden sign of high-quality cooperation between the two countries," according to CCTV.

The friendly attitude contrasts with Beijing's strained relations with several other Southeast Asian countries - notably the Philippines - over territorial claims in the disputed South China Sea.

Xi said the key to strong ties with Indonesia "lies in adherence to strategic independence, mutual trust and mutual assistance... and fairness and justice."

"The two countries should ... firmly support each other in safeguarding sovereignty, security and development interests," he said. / BGNES