China, Indonesia are seeing robust people-to-people exchanges
With tourism as a pillar, Indonesia has long been a popular destination for Chinese tourists, and China became the Southeast Asian country’s largest source of international tourists in both 2016 and 2017.
And now Indonesia is the second most popular destination for Chinese tourists, said Peng Liyuan, wife of Chinese President Xi Jinping, during a meeting with Indonesian First Lady Iriana Joko Widodo in Beijing on Tuesday.
At Diaoyutai State Guesthouse, Peng told Iriana, who was accompanying Indonesian President Joko Widodo on his two-day visit to China, that as important neighbors, the Chinese and Indonesian peoples have enjoyed a friendship with a long history, and that both countries have witnessed robust people-to-people exchanges in recent years.
For instance, more than 2.05 million tourists from the Chinese mainland visited Indonesia in 2017, accounting for 14.95 percent of all of its international visitors, data by the country’s Statistics Bureau Agency showed. In particular, Chinese tourists dominated foreign ones who visited Indonesia’s resort island of Bali.
On Tuesday, Iriana said she welcomed more Chinese tourists to visit Indonesia and said she hopes for a lasting friendship between the two countries.
Indonesia has offered visa-free policies for Chinese tourists since 2015, enabling them to stay in the country for no more than 30 days.
In their acclaimed four-pillar cooperation, China and Indonesia have forged a new synergy through working together on people-to-people exchanges, as well as politics, economy, and maritime projects in recent years.
On Tuesday, Peng and Iriana also watched musical performances by students and teachers of the China Conservatory of Music. Peng talked about the history and techniques of traditional Chinese musical instruments.
Fascinated by the performances, Iriana said that she was deeply touched to hear young Chinese artists play Indonesian music.
Music knows no borders, links hearts and passes on friendship, said Peng. She also expressed the hope that cultural exchanges will play a greater role in enhancing the friendship between the two countries.
In a joint statement, China and Indonesia said both sides will accelerate the resumption of people-to-people exchanges, including the return of Indonesian students to China, open more direct flights, and beef up cooperation in such fields as education, tourism, youth and local exchanges.