GlobalIndonesia welcomes ASEAN leaders with an orangutan, bird calls and a waterfall

Indonesia welcomes ASEAN leaders with an orangutan, bird calls and a waterfall

Indonesian President Joko Widodo will welcome his Asian and global counterparts with a captivating jungle setting that includes a two-story waterfall, wild orchids and even an orangutan perched in a tree.

The highly detailed jungle has been installed in the huge lobby of the Convention Center in the capital, Jakarta, and features a widescreen video of a yellow-billed hornbill soaring above a blue sky, leaves falling sway and birdsong.

It’s a welcome starting point for Widodo and his guests at the week-long Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit, which begins Tuesday.

“Indonesia wants to offer the best hospitality,” the country’s Communications Minister, Budi Arie Setiadi, told The Associated Press about the unique reception for ASEAN leaders and other prominent guests such as US Vice President Kamala Harris. Chinese Prime Minister Li Qiang and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

Access to the convention center was not accessible to the public and a sign prohibited videos and photos until the show was made public.

Indonesia also wants to draw attention to the bloc’s urgent call for environmental protection and the need to switch to greener energy sources, Setiadi added.

The artificial one is the only type of jungle existing in Jakarta. The nearest rainforest, home to the endangered orangutans, is more than 1,300 kilometers (800 miles) away, on the island of Borneo.

The Indonesian capital, with 11 million inhabitants, is one of the most polluted cities in the world and is plagued by skyscrapers and traffic.

The government has begun a two-decade project to move the capital from Jakarta to Nusantara, Borneo, which will involve building government buildings and housing from scratch in the area, about 2,000 kilometers (1,240 miles) northeast of Jakarta.


Associated Press writer Jim Gomez contributed to this report.

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