Senior minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, has given a brief update on plans for Indonesia and China to form a team to develop a high-speed train that will link Jakarta and the East Java capital of Surabaya, according to reporting from Jakarta Globe.

Beijing mainly funded the construction of the USD 7.3 billion high-speed train that connects Jakarta and Bandung as part of President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative and there are now talks for the train’s extension to Surabaya. In a recap of his recent meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Luhut said that the extension came up in the discussions.

“Regarding the Jakarta-Surabaya high-speed train, we have agreed to form a team soon,” Luhut said on his official Instagram account over the weekend.

Jakarta Globe reports that the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway, also known as Whoosh, has seen its ridership rising since it entered commercial operations in October 2023, and even soared in the recent Eid holiday, according to Luhut.

The government estimates that hundreds of millions of Indonesians traveled during the long Eid holidays. The Eid break lasted for 10 days, from April 6 to April 15.  Whoosh reported that its ridership peaked on April 15, reaching approximately 21,500 passengers.

“[Whoosh’s] ridership continues to grow since its launch, even during the peak of the Eid homecoming exodus. This shows that we should extend this project to Surabaya,” Luhut said.

Kereta Cepat Indonesia China (KCIC) had plans to extend the tracks to Yogyakarta first before they could go to Surabaya, according to media reports published earlier this year. However, KCIC has not made any official decision yet. The KCIC is the consortium that is in charge of operating the train which can travel up to 350 kilometers per hour. President Jokowi also discussed the train extension with Wang Yi when the latter visited Jakarta’s Merdeka Palace last week, reports Jakarta Globe.

“Mr. President spoke of the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed train, and he is pushing for a technology transfer. He also underlined the need to speed up the feasibility study for the track extension to Surabaya,” Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi said, talking about Wang Yi’s meeting with Jokowi.

Wang Yi was in Indonesia for the 4th Indonesia-China High-Level Dialogue and Cooperation Mechanism meeting. As the name suggests, the meeting became a space for both countries to talk about strategies on how they could take the bilateral ties to greater heights, according to Jakarta Globe.

 

Source: Jakarta Globe

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