23November2017

Home Editorial INDONESIA AND MODERN SILK ROAD

INDONESIA AND MODERN SILK ROAD

China was the host of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation Summit on May 14, 2017. The summit aims to further discuss effort to revive the Silk Road, an idea put forward by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013.

The summit, attended by 29 Heads of State, including President Joko Widodo, is aimed at creating several economic corridors that cover over 60 countries around the world, integrating Asia, Europe and Africa both on land and sea.

Chinese President, Xi Jinping in 2013 announced the initiative The Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st century Maritime Silk Road or also known as the Belt and Road Initiative -BRI.

If we look at the past time, around 114 BC to 1450 AD, the Silk Road became an important trade route connecting the East and the West. This road contributed to the development of civilization, the spread of culture, religion, and laid the foundation for the modern world.

Xinhua news agency wrote, in this ambitious plan, China has invested more than $50 billion dollars in 20 countries along the route. The concept of the Modern Silk Road initiated by Chinese President Xi Jinping will include the construction of new roads, fast train networks, power plants, pipelines, ports, airports and communications that will increase trade between China and 60 countries in Asia, Europe, Middle East and North Africa.

In the Modern Silk Road concept, China and Europe will be connected through Central Asia, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and Africa. Indonesia is one of the routes crossed within the international trade routes.

What is Indonesia's position on this Modern Silk Path? Indonesia has a strategic role both geopolitically and geographically in the Silk Road. Geopolitically and geostrategically, Indonesia has a very strategic location. Indonesia has over 3.25 million square kilometers of water area and is located between two oceans and two continents. In addition, the potential of Indonesia's considerable natural wealth is very beneficial to Indonesia. But despite its enormous potential, Indonesia does not have adequate maritime infrastructure to support its economic growth and establish its identity as a maritime nation.

The positive impact that Indonesia can enjoy in this Modern Silk Road Concept is simplifying the transportation of goods for export to overseas. However, Indonesia should also be prepared for the flowing of Chinese goods as the result of the easier export and import access of the Chinese and European goods at lower fares. Hopefully, Indonesia's involvement in the Modern Silk Road project can improve infrastructure development and provide benefits, especially for the economy of Indonesia.

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