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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs   3 October 2013  

China's Xi due in Indonesia on first Southeast Asia trip

JAKARTA: Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives in Indonesia on Wednesday on his first trip to Southeast Asia since taking power, as Beijing seeks to tap into the country's booming economy.

He will receive a ceremonial welcome at the start of the two-day state visit before holding talks with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and signing a number of trade agreements.

They are expected to include deals in several sectors, including infrastructure, technology and tourism, reportedly worth up to $20 billion.

He will also ink an accord for investment in construction of a monorail system in the capital Jakarta, where unrelenting traffic drains billions of dollars from Southeast Asia's top economy each year.

On Thursday, Xi, who became president in March, will address the Indonesian parliament.

Trade between China and Indonesia has soared from $16.5 billion in 2005 to more than $66.2 billion in 2012 and Xi said he was aiming "to plan for our future collaborations" during the visit.

Indonesia "has turned itself into a remarkable emerging market economy with political stability, economic growth, social progress and ethnic harmony", he was quoted as saying in an interview with the Jakarta Post newspaper.

China already has significant investments in Indonesia in several sectors, including mining.

Regional territorial disputes may also be on the agenda, as Indonesia has often acted as a mediator between China and other nations during disputes over the South China Sea.

Indonesia does not have any disputes with China over the strategically important sea, unlike nations such as the Philippines and Vietnam whose territorial claims overlap with those of Beijing.

Xi said Beijing was committed to working with the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to "safeguard peace and stability in this region, including in the South China Sea".

"As for the differences and disputes between countries, China has always stood for proper resolution through friendly negotiations and dialogue," he was quoted as saying.

After his visit to Indonesia, Xi will head to neighbouring Malaysia and then a meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum on the Indonesian resort island of Bali.

It was unclear if US President Barack Obama would also be attending the regional summit after he scrapped a visit to Malaysia planned for next week due to the US government shutdown.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More






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