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Indonesia launches Southeast Asia’s first high-speed railway, funded by China

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Indonesia has officially launched its first high-speed railway, connecting the capital Jakarta with the city of Bandung in West Java province. The railway, named “Whoosh”, is a key project under China’s Belt and Road infrastructure initiative and will start its commercial operations on Monday.

The $7.3 billion project, which was inaugurated by Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Sunday, will cut the travel time between the two cities from the current three hours to about 40 minutes. The railway is also expected to reduce carbon emissions by using electrical energy.

President Widodo said the project marks the modernization of Indonesia’s mass transportation, which is efficient and environmentally friendly. He also said the project will boost the country’s human resources and independence.

The railway, which is the fastest in Southeast Asia with speeds of up to 350 kph (217 mph), has four stations: Halim in eastern Jakarta, Karawang, Walini and Padalarang in West Java. The project was constructed by PT Kereta Cepat Indonesia-China, a joint venture between an Indonesian consortium of four state-owned companies and China Railway International Co. Ltd.

The railway is one of several infrastructure projects that China has invested in Indonesia, as part of its ambitious Belt and Road initiative that aims to connect Asia, Europe and Africa through a network of roads, railways, ports and other facilities.

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