The Politicization of China's Outbound High-speed Railway Investment: The Case of the Jakarta-Bandung Railway

November 07 , 2017 08:25 PM by PAN Yue

[Author] Pan Yue, Ph.D Student in the School of International Relations of Sun Yat-sen University

[Abstract] As China's high-speed railway program continues to go global, commercial frictions have emerged between Chinese companies and the host states of projects, to the point that commercial issues are frequently politicized. Based on a review of the case of the Jakarta-Bandung Railway project in Indonesia, this article offers a detailed discussion of the "politicization" of such projects against the background of the Belt and Road Initiative, considering especially the project's objectives, characteristics and physical construction. It is argued that the politicization and gradual internationalization of this project are the result of domestic political struggles prompted by Indonesia's weak development trends, and is not related to any conflicting interests between China and Indonesia. As such, China should work to decrease the pace of the "politicization" of its railway projects.

[Keywords] China-Indonesia Relations, China's High-speed Rail, Jakarta-Bandung High-speed Railway, Trade Frictions, Politicization