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PM Lee, President Jokowi hail 'special' 50th anniversary of ...

PM Lee, President Jokowi hail ‘special’ 50th anniversary of …

SINGAPORE: Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Thursday (Sep 7) lauded the “very special” occasion of 50 years of formal diplomatic relations between the two countries.

“Our bilateral relationship has since grown and prospered,” Mr Lee said at a joint press conference, following the signing of several agreements between both countries. “Generations of leaders have taken a long-term and win-win approach to cooperate for mutual benefit and to solve problems amicably and rationally.”

“As a result, today we have a strong partnership based on mutual trust and respect. We hope (this) will continue to strengthen and prosper for many more years.”

A total of nine Memorandums of Understanding between the two Southeast Asian nations were signed on Thursday, covering areas like higher education, vocational training and disaster risk management.

Mr Lee noted: “Since our last Leaders’ Retreat, many areas of cooperation have been progressing, including investment and skills training, digital economy and initiatives to support regional growth and development in Indonesia.”

Kendal Industrial Park, a joint venture between Singapore‘s Sembcorp Development and Indonesia‘s industrial estate developer PT Jababeka, has attracted 32 confirmed tenants and almost US$500 million in investment, creating close to 4,000 jobs, Mr Lee said.

There are now plans to set up a polytechnic in the industrial park to train workers, he added.

MORE COOPERATION IN DIGITAL ECONOMY, TOURISM

Expanding on Singapore and Indonesia joining hands in the development of the digital economy, Mr Widodo said: “This is no longer an option. It is now imperative. This will be a priority for Indonesia and Singapore.

“If we can combine investment, technology with talent and youth market potential, then the digital economy cooperation will make Indonesia as well as Singapore’s economy even stronger.”

Mr Widodo added that Batam is an ideal location to further develop the digital economy, with the development of the digital cluster in Nongsa and the development of a start-up incubator.

“Tourism also presents great opportunities which we have yet to optimise. Indonesia has all-encompassing tourism destinations and new destinations continue to be promoted,” he said.

Singapore and Indonesia will work together to develop joint tourism destinations, cooperate on operating cruise ships and cruise ship harbour construction, and increase investment in tourism infrastructure, Mr Widodo said.

Mr Lee also said the historic joint RISING50 flypast, due to take place later on Thursday, reflected the “close defence ties” and “excellent working relations” between Singapore and Indonesia’s defence forces and security agencies.

To bring the two countries closer together, a major cultural event will be held next year to cap off the celebrations, he said. The event will also serve to showcase Indonesia‘s rich cultural tapestry and Singapore‘s growing arts and culture scene.

“The overall breadth and depth of our cooperation reflect an enduring and maturing partnership,” said Mr Lee.

“I am confident that under President Jokowi’s leadership, we will continue to enjoy a strong, forward-looking and dynamic relationship. I look forward to seeing Singapore and Indonesia rise together to greater heights over the next 50 years.”

TREE PLANTING, NEW STAMPS TO MARK RELATIONSHIP

Earlier on Thursday, the two leaders planted a tree at the Singapore Botanic Gardens as part of the celebrations to mark 50 years of bilateral ties. 

They planted a Sunda oak tree, dubbed the “RISING tree”, in the Gardens’ Learning Forest. The tree is native to both Singapore and Indonesia, according to a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) issued on Tuesday. 

Mr and Mrs Lee also hosted President Widodo and First Lady Iriana to a breakfast of nasi lemak at the Gardens.

A commemorative stamp set featuring coral reefs from both countries was also launched. 

“The joint issue by SingPost and Pos Indonesia features coral reefs of both countries, as the myriad interdependencies within these delicate ecosystems reflect the many ways in which Singapore and Indonesia are working together,” SingPost said.

The stamps were unveiled at the Istana by Mr Lee and Mr Widodo.

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