Indonesia and the Republic of Korea are intensifying their partnerships in environmental protection alongside their cooperation in economics, defence, trade, investment and external affairs.

Environment Minister Balthasar Kambuaya and RoK Ambassador to Indonesia Kim Yeong Seon on January 3 cut the ribbon to kick off a project to restore the water quality of the Ciliwung River in Indonesia.

The Ciliwung River, running from the Puncak area in West Java, through urban areas in the capital city, Jakarta, to Jakarta Bay, is dubbed “the death river” as its pollution level is reported to be the highest in the country.

The Ciliwung River project, which stemmed from an agreement signed between the Ministry of Environment of Indonesia and the RoK in December 2012, will cover the dredging of the river bed and the construction of a wastewater treatment centre. It is expected to be completed in June, 2015.

Speaking at the event, Ambassador Kim Yeong Seon said the environment is crucial to national development and stated that the RoK Government is ready to assist and share its expertise with Indonesia in protecting the environment.

In another move, the RoK’s Samsung group recently announced its intention to build a cross-sea bridge to connect the Batam free trade zone with the neighbouring island of Bintan in the island province of Riau, Indonesia.

Batam is currently the most attractive destination for foreign investors given that it is located along the world’s East-West maritime route that runs through the Strait of Malacca.-VNA