NEWS > Mainland
Indonesian president visits Beijing
2005-07-27 02:33:17 THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

JAKARTA, Jul 27 (AP) -- Indonesia's president will discuss trade and military cooperation with China's leader during a visit this week that underlines warming ties between the Asian giants, officials said.

Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Chinese President Hu Jintao, meeting for the second time in three months, are expected to oversee the signing of several agreements before the Indonesian leader returns to Jakarta on Saturday.

Among them will be an agreement to construct an oil refinery in East Java, jointly built by Indonesian state-run oil and gas company Pertamina and China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., or Sinopec Corp., Mines and Energy Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro said earlier this week.

He gave no details on when the two companies would start building the 150,000 to 200,000 barrels-a-day refinery, its cost, or the ownership split.

Yudhoyono, who left for Beijing early Wednesday, also is expected to witness the signing of an agreement on cooperation in defense technology.

"The visit will sound out the cooperation in defense technology ... including a possible rocket program," Defense Minister Juwono Sudarsono said.

Yudhoyono's visit is being viewed as part of efforts by China to widen its political and economic clout in the region.

Indonesia -- which hopes to attract more Chinese investment -- is Southeast Asia's most populous nation and boasts plentiful natural gas fields and other raw materials.

In April, Hu Jintao made a two-day state visit to Indonesia, and signed agreements to boost bilateral trade by more than 50 percent over the next three years to US$20 billion (€15.3 billion).

Political ties between Indonesia and China have improved significantly since the downfall of dictator Suharto, who cut ties with communist China between 1965 and the 1980s. About 2 percent of Indonesia's 210 million people are ethnic Chinese, many of whom maintain close links with the mainland.

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