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Jokowi announces Indonesia's new capital in East Kalimantan

Government cites economic benefits, while critics fret over rising debt and corruption

Bukit Soeharto, a forested area between the districts of Penajam Paser Utara and Kutai Kartanegara, in East Kalimantan Province, is to be the center of Indonesia's new capital. (Photo by Jun Suzuki)

JAKARTA -- President Joko Widodo on Monday announced the location of Indonesia's new capital in East Kalimantan Province, the Indonesian part of Borneo island. He cited the need to ease the burden on Jakarta and the rest of Java island, and to jump-start the economy in other parts of the archipelago nation.

The new capital location will straddle two districts: Penajam Paser Utara and Kutai Kartanegara in East Kalimantan Province. It is the site that the government had earlier said it was considering near Balikpapan and Samarinda, the province's two largest cities, which are a two-hour flight from Jakarta. The capital will be built on 180,000 hectares of land already owned by the government, thereby minimizing the cost of land acquisition. Earthquakes, flooding and volcanic eruptions are less common in that area.

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