Indonesia scrapped plans for its first high-speed railway and asked China and Japan, which were vying for the multibillion-dollar contract, to submit new proposals to build a slower train, Reuters reported.
The two Asian giants had lobbied heavily up to Monday’s deadline for the contract.
But President Joko Widodo has now decided his country doesn’t need a train that can reach speeds of more than 300 km/h.
“The president has decided don’t make it a high-speed train. It is enough to have a medium-speed train,” Darmin Nasution, the coordinating minister of economics, told reporters.
He said China and Japan can submit new proposals to build a slower rail link between the capital, Jakarta, and the textile town of Bandung to the south.
The contract for a 150 km rail line linking the two cities, which would have cut the journey to 35 minutes from about three hours, had provoked stiff rivalry between China and Japan.
It also put Indonesia in a diplomatic bind.
Japan is Indonesia’s second-largest investor, while China is its top trading partner.
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