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Speech by H.E. Mr. Xie Feng, Chinese Ambassador to Indonesia at the Farewell Reception

(From Chinese Embassy in Indonesia)


Today is exactly the 1,100th day of my Ambassadorship to Indonesia. Exactly 3 years ago today, I presented the copy of letter of credence to the Indonesian Foreign Ministry. For 3 years, I've been learning about Indonesia, respecting all of you as my mentors and teachers. For 3 years, I've been doing my utmost to build up friendship and cooperation between our two countries.

3 years later, I'm so glad to see that under the leadership of President Xi Jinping and President Joko Widodo, our bilateral relationship has grown stronger than ever.

I accompanied President Jokowi on 4 trips to China, most recently in May during the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing. Our 2 presidents held their 6th bilateral meeting and reached important consensus to further synergise the "21st Century Maritime Silk Road" initiative with "Global Maritime Fulcrum" strategy and deepen cooperation in all fields, bringing new vitality to the comprehensive strategic partnership between China and Indonesia.

I'm so glad to see that aside from the vice-premier level dialogue mechanism for political security, our two countries initiated the high-level economic dialogue and vice-premier level people-to-people exchange mechanism, which is the first such mechanism China has built with a developing country. These three mechanisms function as a "troika" driving the comprehensive strategic partnership forward.

I'm so glad to see the continuous progress on the Jakarta-Bandung High-speed Railway, the first bullet train being built in Indonesia and Southeast Asia. The joint team of China and Indonesia has shown exceptional resolve and commitment. One by one, the problems and difficulties were tackled and it has been hailed by the world as a true miracle.

My colleagues and I have been deeply involved and much devoted to this project. The Jakarta-Bandung High-speed Railway has a special place in our heart. I'm sure with concerted efforts from both sides, the project will be completed and with the highest quality standard. I am looking forward to coming back as a tourist and taking a fast and comfortable ride on the new train.

I am so glad to see that as China remains Indonesia's largest trading partner for 6 consecutive years, its investment ranking has risen from 9th to 3rd place. If taking into account the Chinese investment via Singapore and Hong Kong, China is Indonesia's de facto No. 1 investor.

Our cooperation has grown beyond the traditional sectors of project contracting, infrastructure and mineral resources. It has expanded into such new areas as manufacturing, finance, telecommunication and e-commerce. While Chinese companies such as Huawei, ZTE, Oppo, Xiaomi and Lenovo have become household brands in Indonesia, tropical fruits, bird's nest and other Indonesian products have gained increasing popularity in the Chinese market.

I am so glad to see the vigorous growth of bilateral people-to-people exchanges and greater understanding and friendship between our two peoples. After China became the largest source of foreign tourists for Indonesia in 2016, the number of Chinese visiting Indonesia this year is expected to pass 2 million. We will be able to realize the target of attracting 10 million Chinese tourists between 2014 and 2019 set forth by President Jokowi. The Chinese government scholarship was increased by over 12-fold in past 2 years. There are now over 14,000 Indonesian students studying in China, making China the foreign destination with the largest number of Indonesian students.

During the past 3 years, together with Indonesian friends, we enjoyed the wonderful performances by the Chinese National Ballet in the Ciputra Theatre and China Philharmonic Orchestra in the Aula Simfonia Jakarta. Until now, I can still hear the resonating and warm applause from audience. Our embassy hosted receptions for visiting youth from both countries to share their experience and perspective. 4 days ago, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) General Chairman professor and doctor Said and myself again visited the Luhur /luhu/ Al-Tsaqafah /al-dakafa/ Islamic boarding school to host a fast-breaking dinner with the students and offer our help to those in need. We are now still in the holy month of Ramadan, please allow me to convey to the Indonesian Muslim brothers and sisters the best Ramadan wishes from over 23 million Chinese Muslim brothers and sisters.

The fast growth of relationship over the past 3 years deepened my realization that our cooperation is mutually complementary and win-win in nature. A healthy, stable and prospering relationship serves the common interests of our two peoples and contributes to peace and prosperity in the region and beyond. Any difference between us shall not diminish our mutual respect or impede cooperation and search for common ground. Because such difference is far outweighed by shared interests. I believe our relationship will grow stronger and our cooperation will deliver more tangible benefits. Both sides shall take this historical opportunity. China and Indonesia shall always remain as good neighbors, good friends and good partners.

The past 1,100 days have left me with many sweet memories. From the Paradise in Bali to the Mecca Corridor in Aceh, from Semarang and Cirebon which were once visited by navigator Zheng Ho to the booming cities of Solo and Surabaya, my trip across the Thousand Islands has opened my eyes to the beauty and vitality of Indonesia, the Emerald of the Equator. I watched the stunning sunrise at Borobudur, stood in awe before Mount Bromo, enjoyed the tranquility of Lake Toba and swam in the blue seas in Bunaken. I enjoyed the angklung performance and watched wayang kulit. I was fascinated by the elegance of Batik, intoxicated by the aroma of Kopi Luwak and feasted on the delicious nasi goreng. I learned to say Terima Kasih to those who helped me.

A friend once told me, "if you spend one week in Indonesia, you can write your travel log; if you spend a few months, you can write your own book; but if you spend a few years, you don't even know where to start" That's because the longer you stay, the more you realize that Indonesia, with over 17,000 islands, 714 ethnic groups and 1,100 local languages, is such a huge and diversified country. A 3-year tenure is only too short. I hope I can come back someday to once again enjoy its beautiful scenery, enchanting culture and warm loving people.

I was blessed to have made so many friends from the Indonesian government, political parties, business community, religious groups, think tanks, media, the diplomatic corps, Ambassador Xu Bu and his colleagues from the Chinese Mission to ASEAN, Chinese entrepreneurs, Chinese journalists and Chinese volunteers. You have all contributed so much to our bilateral relations. From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank you for supporting our embassy and myself. I will never forget the many days and nights when we worked together, the inspiring conversations we had, and the happy moments we shared. We Chinese say "true friends walk this life together". The Indonesian saying goes "friendship is far in the sky and near in the heart". Although my tenure will soon complete, our friendship will last forever.

I also want to thank my dear colleagues at the embassy, including the local Indonesian staff who joined us decades ago. For day and night, we worked side by side. I am so proud of this aspiring, energetic and dedicated team. You are first class. You are superb. You are the real heroes and heroines. I would like to express my heartfelt thanks for your consistent understanding, support and invaluable contribution.

My special thanks also go to my wife Wang Dan, who has always been standing by my side and encouraging me. You remain, as always, my source of inspiration and love.

Dear colleagues and friends,

I hope you will be providing my successor when he arrives, and during the transition, my good friend the Charge d'affaires and Minister Councilor Mr. Sun Weide as much help as you have been kindly providing me.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I will soon start my new journey with fond memory of this beautiful country, warm friendship and sincere hope for an even better tomorrow for Indonesia. Wherever I go, I will always remain Indonesia's true friend and committed envoy for friendship and cooperation between China and Indonesia.

Finally, I would like to send my best wishes:

To the ever-lasting prosperity of the Republic of Indonesia.

To the ever-growing cooperation and friendship between China and Indonesia.

And to the health, success and happiness of all my Indonesian friends.

Terima kasih!

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