South Korea backs shifting Indonesia’s capital to East Kalimantan


Ambassador Kim Chang- beom (Antara)

Ambassador Kim Chang- beom (Antara)

Jakarta: South Korea has lent its support to moving the capital of Indonesia from Jakarta to East Kalimantan.

“I think we should look at the most important reason behind President Joko Widodo’s decision on the transfer of the capital city,” South Korean Ambassador to Indonesia Kim Chang- beom told Indonesian news agency ANTARA.

“The most important aspect is equalizing growth and development in all parts of Indonesia. Greater Jakarta (Jabodetabek) also has a high population density.”

Kim said the South Korean government, applying a similar policy, had built an administrative center, Sejong City, to reduce congestion in the capital city.

Sejong was established in 2007 in the South Chungcheong region and North Chungcheong Province to attract investment into the country’s central region.

Since 2012, the South Korean government has relocated several ministries and institutions to Sejong, but several of those are yet in other cities, especially Seoul, where the National Assembly, President’s Office, and several important government bodies remain.

The South Korean government also relocated several state-owned enterprises and public facilities to small- and medium-scale cities to boost the capacity of these cities.

Sharing the similar view, the government of South Korea supported the relocation of the capital city to East Kalimantan.

“We are closely watching developments in the relocation of the capital city. The announcement of the capital city’s relocation was also well-received by the people of Indonesia,” Ambassador Kim said, quoted by ANTARA.

If the plan is realized, Kalimantan will become a more developed region and prosperous community. In addition, through the application of a good design, Kalimantan will become a smart and green city.

The South Korean government was willing to move its embassy to East Kalimantan, the ambassador said, highlighting that the distance from Seoul to East Kalimantan is shorter than that to Jakarta.

“Jakarta is a bit far, around six to seven hours flight, but Kalimantan may be an around 5.5-hour-long flight from Seoul. Hence, we will get closer,” he said.

“We look forward to working with the Indonesian government on this ambitious and historic project.”

He stressed that Indonesia and South Korea share similar reasons over relocating the capital city, which is aimed at seeking a more balanced development in the country.

“I think the primary and foremost reason behind the decision made by President Jokowi on the relocation of the capital city is for more balanced development in Indonesia, partly due to the overgrowth and immense population in Jakarta,” Kim told the news agency.

“In Korea, we had a similar policy on how to ensure the development of the country takes place in a more balanced manner.”

Regarding the impact of the relocation of the capital city in Indonesia, the diplomat said that it is still unclear, but the policy could be a “bonanza” for the people in Kalimantan.

“For the impact (in the region), we will have to see. If the entire design is planned well, the new capital in Kalimantan could really be a nicer, smarter and greener city.”

0n August 26, 2019, the central government announced that parts of the districts of North Penajam Paser and Kutai Kertanegara in East Kalimantan would be the location for the country’s new capital that is expected to be inaugurated in 2024.

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