Premier Li Keqiang’s trip to Indonesia was marked by good intentions through the two trees he left in the country — a camphor tree planted at the Bogor Botanical Gardens adjacent to the presidential palace, and a Chinese painting portraying a pine tree, an emblem of hospitality in China, received by the ASEAN Secretariat.
On May 7, at the invitation of Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo, Premier Li and Joko jointly planted a camphor sapling at the Bogor Botanical Gardens, on which Indonesia commented that the sapling will surely tower into the clouds for thousands of years to come. It was also a declaration that the reciprocal relationship between China and Indonesia will continue to scale new heights, with people of the two countries enjoying long-term peace and harmony.
That afternoon, Premier Li and Secretary-General of ASEAN Lim Jock Hoi uncovered a Chinese ink and wash painting of a pine standing on Mount Huang, a time-honored scenic area in China, at the ceremony for the launch of the 15th anniversary of the ASEAN-China strategic partnership.
Mount Huang is among China’s priceless treasures as well as a world cultural and natural heritage, and the tree symbolizes the Chinese people’s open-mindedness and inclusiveness. The painting demonstrates China’s willingness to step up opening-up and invite people across the world to be part of China’s modernization process, and to share diverse cultures with the whole world with a more inclusive mind-set, said Premier Li.
The two trees embody the far-reaching significance of Premier Li’s trip to Indonesia. As he said upon his arrival in Jakarta, he came for the state visit in the hope of cementing China-Indonesia ties, reciprocal cooperation, and the friendship between the two peoples. China is ready to further promote the relationship and cooperation between China and ASEAN, and uphold regional peace, stability, and development along with other member nations.
Tree planting before talks
After the grand welcome ceremony for Premier Li on May 7, the two leaders went on to plant a camphor sapling at the garden instead of entering the conference room right away. This special arrangement reveals that Indonesia eyes further enhancement in trade, cooperation, and a harmonious relationship with China.
This year marks the fifth anniversary of the China-Indonesia comprehensive strategic partnership. According to related statistics, China has been Indonesia’s largest trading partner, the main source of foreign investment, the primary source of overseas tourists, and the second-largest destination for studying abroad for seven consecutive years.
At the press conference following the talks with President Joko, Premier Li announced that China will raise the quota for importing Indonesian palm oil by 500,000 tons, in a bid to balance the trade deficit with Indonesia.
A trade surplus, he added, has never been China’s main goal, and China is open to more Indonesian competitive imports, including oil, gas, rubber, coffee, and fruits. Meanwhile, China expects that Indonesia will abolish the restriction on import of China’s vegetables and fruits.
Indonesia, a major palm oil-producing country, attaches substantial importance to China’s added quota of 500,000 tons of palm oil imports, as it is associated with the livelihood of farmers in this country. The increase will also benefit China in return, against the backdrop of growing demand for palm oil, which perfectly embodies the win-win strategy.
“Global economic revitalization is picking up momentum, but more uncertainties have been rising to the surface. Strengthened economic and trade cooperation between China and Indonesia will come as a declaration that both countries show unswerving support for economic globalization and free trade, and willingness to maintain a WTO rules-based multilateral trade system and facilitate global economic recovery,” Premier Li said at the press conference.
“China boasts tremendous potential in its market, with a remarkable population of 1.3 billion people, and Indonesia seeks more economic and trade cooperation with China. The reciprocal China-Indonesia strategic partnership is of great significance to regional and global peace and stability,” said Joko.
Mount Huang pine symbolizes hospitality and inclusiveness
The Chinese painting of the pine tree on Mount Huang gifted by Premier Li is of great significance, as is his speech at the ASEAN Secretariat on the occasion of the15th anniversary of ASEAN-China strategic partnership during his trip to Indonesia.
ASEAN, as the first sub-regional community, has become an important driver of regional peace and stability, regional integration, and global multi-polarization. China and ASEAN are good neighbors, friends, and partners, whose partnership has already transcended the scope of bilateral relationships and become a robust pillar for regional peace, stability, and co-prosperity, said Premier Li.
He added that 2018 marks the 40th anniversary of China’s reform and opening-up policy and also the start of the next 50 years of ASEAN. China and ASEAN have been developing hand in hand on the way to prosperity.
President Xi Jinping’s proposal for jointly realizing a blueprint for the future and announcement of further opening-up measures that came out at the 2018 Boao Forum for Asia also demonstrate that China’s development will usher in a new wave of opportunities for the world, and ASEAN, with its geographic proximity, will benefit more from it. ASEAN member nations are welcome to share China’s economic achievements and develop a close-knit community with China, said Premier Li.
“China will unswervingly hold on to the opening-up strategy. Chinese people have been benefiting massively from opening-up since its beginning, hence further opening-up will surely be in place,” he said.
Development continues to sit at the top of China’s agenda, which calls for an orderly international environment. China will never veer from the path of peaceful development, and will continue to underpin multilateralism and promote the democratization of international politics, said the Premier.
In terms of the South China Sea dispute, China is willing to preserve the current positive situation along with ASEAN member nations and shape it into a region of peace and cooperation via amicable negotiations and discussions on a code of conduct.