Indonesia has opened its first high-speed line, thanks to China’s Belt and Road Initiative

A high-speed train during the opening at Halim Station in Jakarta, October 2, 2023 (AP Photo/Ahmed Ibrahim)

Indonesia opened Monday morning The first high-speed train line During a ceremony chaired by President Joko Widodo in the capital, Jakarta. The length of the line is 142 kilometers and connects the capital with the city of Bandung, one of the most important commercial and technological centers in the country. It was created as part of the Belt and Road Initiative, also known as the “Silk Road”, the massive infrastructure project wanted by Chinese President Xi Jinping, which involves investing hundreds of billions of dollars in various countries with a clear goal: to strengthen the world’s trade infrastructure, while Implicitly expanding China’s influence in many countries across Africa, Asia and Europe.

The line is called “Whoosh”, an acronym for “Reliable, Optimal and Time-Saving Transport System”, and is operated by a conglomerate of four Indonesian state companies and the China International Railway Corporation. Widodo said during the presentation that his name was inspired “by the sound of a high-speed train,” adding that those traveling on it could reach speeds of up to 350 kilometers per hour. The line was supposed to be completed in 2019, but it was delayed due to some regional disputes, the coronavirus pandemic, and the public investments planned for its construction exceeded.

Indonesian authorities claim that the high speed will help increase the country’s productivity and reduce traffic congestion and polluting emissions from car traffic. However, according to some critics, for now this will only affect tourists and people traveling for business, as the cost of tickets is particularly prohibitive for residents to use in their daily lives.

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– Read also: In Europe, China’s “Silk Road” did not succeed

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