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'Twin Parks' Project Strengthening China-Indonesia Ties

Source: China Daily | 2023-06-21 14:05   Click:

Visitors learn about seafood at an exhibition area featuring the "Two Countries, Twin Parks" project, a joint project between China and Indonesia, in Fuzhou, Fujian province, on Friday. ZHU XINGXIN/CHINA DAILY


"I first did business in Indonesia in 1989, " said Shi Jie, the general manager of a food processing company in Yuanhong Investment Zone in Fuzhou, the provincial capital of Fujian. Like many in Fujian, the origin of many overseas Chinese in Southeast Asia, his family has established roots in Indonesia over generations.


Indeed the ties between Fujian, an essential hub of the 21st Maritime Silk Road, and Indonesia, a key link in the route, are well-established. Nearly 80 percent of overseas Chinese in Indonesia come from Fujian.


In the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), Zheng He, the great Chinese navigator, reached the Indonesian island of Java six times during his seven global expeditions.


Indonesia is also the largest trading partner of Fujian among the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. Last year, the import and export trade volume between Fujian and Indonesia reached 121.5 billion yuan ($17 billion), representing a year-on-year growth of 32.2 percent.


In 2013 Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed jointly constructing the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road during his state visit to Indonesia.


In 2022 the heads of states of China and Indonesia agreed to promote the joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative, as well as the flagship project of "Two Countries, Twin Parks" that aims to build a cooperation platform centered on the international food industry chain and supply chain.


Two partners see eye to eye


Speaking of his partnership with Indonesia's Salim Group, a fruit of the "Two Countries, Twin Parks" project, Shi said, Indonesia has abundant marine fishery resources and low labor costs. However, it is short of basic support capabilities such as cold-chain transportation, and advanced fishery processing technology. China has been making rapid progress in its deep-sea fishery processing technology and has a vast consumer market.


His company, Saneheld (Fuqing) Food Co, plans to build 10 fishery bases in Indonesia. The first base with an annual production capacity of 500,000 metric tons was put into operation in Tuban, a town on the northern coast of Java, in March last year.


"In the future, through the 'Two Countries, Twin Parks' platform, nearly 5 million tons of fishery catches and surimi will be transported to the Yuanhong Investment Zone each year for advanced processing," Shi said.


Yuanhong Investment Zone has emerged as a crucial gateway for bulk food ingredients from Indonesia to enter China. In Indonesia, the park is mainly composed of Bintan Industrial Estate, Aviarna Industrial Estate and Batang Industrial Estate, and it has a planned area of 87.6 square kilometers.


Jona Widhagdo Putri, special adviser to Indonesia's coordinating minister of maritime affairs and investment and deputy secretary of the China-Indonesia High-level Dialogue Cooperation Mechanism, said in an interview with Fuzhou Daily that Indonesia should establish close ties with the Yuanhong Investment Zone. "This way, we won't have to start from scratch but can leapfrog our development," she said.


Early successes secured


Wang Yiwei, a professor at Renmin University of China's School of International Studies, said: "This year marks the 10th anniversary of the establishment of a comprehensive strategic partnership between China and Indonesia, as well as the 10th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative. Cooperation with Indonesia is of great importance as it is the world's largest Muslim country and the location of the ASEAN Secretariat. Nearly half of ASEAN's population of over 600 million resides in Indonesia."


He said the "Two Countries, Twin Parks" model is actually a sharing of China's modernization experience.


As the first demonstration zone for innovative economic and trade development between China and ASEAN countries, Yuanhong has 190 industrial enterprises in production, including 99 industrial enterprises with an annual main business revenue of over 20 million yuan.


"The 'Two Countries, Twin Parks' program brings great development opportunities, and the Yuanhong International Food Exhibition and Trading Center is building the largest cold-chain storage base in the country, providing strong support for large-scale logistics and distribution for global buying and selling," said Bian Xiaoli, deputy general manager of Fujian Fengda Group, which operates the Yuanhong International Food Exhibition and Trading Center.


Wu Wanzhen contributed to this story.