Chinese Premier Li Qiang rides Jakarta-Bandung High-Speed Railway on a trial run, milestone for landmark BRI project
Published: Sep 07, 2023 01:01 AM
Chinese Premier Li Qiang on Wednesday took a test ride on the Jakarta-Bandung High-Speed Railway. Photo: Xinhua

Chinese Premier Li Qiang on Wednesday took a test ride on the Jakarta-Bandung High-Speed Railway. Photo: Xinhua

Chinese Premier Li Qiang on Wednesday took a test ride on the Jakarta-Bandung High-Speed Railway (HSR), a landmark project under the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The test ride came as Li kicked off an official visit to Indonesia this week, where he is also attending the 26th China-ASEAN Summit, the 26th ASEAN Plus Three Summit and the 18th East Asia Summit.

The on-site visit of the Chinese Premier marks a very important milestone for the development of the flagship BRI project, which is scheduled to enter commercial operation this year, and serves as an outstanding example of bilateral pragmatic cooperation between China and Indonesia.

Upon his arrival at the Halim station, Li was warmly welcomed by Chinese and Indonesian employees.

The Chinese premier then took a test ride and inspected the construction of the platform at Karawang Station, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

The test ride from Halim station to the station in Karawang is a 40-kilometer distance that took about 11 minutes, media reported.
The high-speed railway is a road to integration, openness and common prosperity. It will not only shorten the time and space distance between cities, but also promote the optimization and upgrading of industrial structure and empower economic development along the route, Li said. 

China is ready to share its mature expertise with Indonesia, and work together to do a good job in developing industries and revitalizing cities through the high-speed rail, Li said.

Li was accompanied by Indonesian officials, including the Coordinating Minister for Maritime and Investment, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan.

Connecting Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, and Bandung, the fourth largest city in Indonesia, the Jakarta-Bandung High-Speed Railway is 142 km long and has a design maximum speed of 350 km per hour.

The HSR will be the first such line in Southeast Asia with a design speed of 350 kilometers per hour, cutting the journey between the capital of Jakarta and Bandung from more than three hours to just 40 minutes. It will also make Indonesia the second country in the world after China to operate an HSR at a speed of 350 kilometers an hour.

The Jakarta-Bandung HSR is now undergoing intensive joint commissioning and testing, involving the operation of the electric multiple unit trains and the comprehensive inspection train, which will pave the way for commercial operations that are scheduled to begin within this year, the Global Times learned.

The looming launch is of landmark significance, as it signals that the joint construction of the BRI between China and Indonesia has entered the important harvest period, a spokesperson of the China Railway No.4 Engineering Group Co, told the Global Times. 

The China Railway No.4 Engineering Group Co participated in the construction of the rail line, as well as a number of stations, rail bridges and roadbeds.

The construction of the Jakarta-Bandung HSR will facilitate regional connectivity and pave the way for the Indonesian side to fast-track growth in its new development stage, the spokesperson noted. 

"The Jakarta-Bandung HSR will become a road of development, of people's livelihoods, and a path to win-win results," Chinese Ambassador to Indonesia Lu Kang told the Global Times in a recent interview.

According to Lu, in the long term, the HSR will further optimize the local investment environment, increase job opportunities, drive commercial and tourism development along the line, and even create new growth points to speed up the building of an HSR economic corridor.

"The Jakarta-Bandung HSR shows the synergy between the China-proposed BRI and Indonesia's Global Maritime Fulcrum strategy, which leads to win-win cooperation," said Zhang Chao, executive director of the board of PT Kereta Cepat Indonesia China (KCIC), noting that the successful completion of the project would also have a demonstration effect in the Southeast Asia region, where infrastructure demand has been picking up rapidly.

KCIC is a consortium of Indonesian and Chinese firms responsible for developing and operating the Jakarta-Bandung HSR line.

The cooperation also embodies "extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits," a principle underpinning the development of the BRI over the past 10 years, industry insiders said.

Zhang noted that the HSR is a "vivid display of Chinese standards" in terms of stability, efficiency and economics. The HSR also marked the first time that Chinese high-speed railway technology was implemented in an all-round way abroad, with the whole system, all elements and the whole industrial chain.

As the inauguration date draws near, Zhang said his feelings could be compared to "sitting the national college entrance exam," excited to see eight years of hard work pay off, while being shouldered with a sense of responsibility to ensure the line operates smoothly.