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Is Jokowi’s Nusantara the Chinese Dream?
Concerns grow that Indonesia slips into China’s economic embrace
By: Muhammad Zulfikar Rakhmat and Yeta Purnama
Nusantara, the futuristic US$32 billion capital that President Joko Widodo seeks to build in East Kalimantan, 1,300 km from the current seething, traffic-choked megalopolis of Jakarta, may be the closest thing there is to a Chinese dream in Indonesia.
Jokowi, as the president is universally known, is pursuing 80 percent of the funding of the 256,000-hectare ultramodern city through public-private partnerships and investments with the other 20 percent financed by the state.
It is the biggest project of Jokowi’s presidential career, and one that will leave a permanent historic mark on the country. He is determined to persuade big countries like China to invest and support infrastructure development, s he conveyed through a telephone conversation with President Xi Jinping.
But the new capital city appears to be facing uncertainty about incoming investment. The president was initially reluctant to veer too close to Beijing, forming a new capital steering board consisting of the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son, and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, in an effort to gain international trust…