JAKARTA - Singapore's Finance Minister Lawrence Wong kicked off his four-day working trip to Indonesia on Tuesday (May 17) with a series of discussions with top government leaders on strengthening bilateral ties and exploring new areas of cooperation.
"It was good to catch up in-person with several ministers today," he wrote on Facebook after the meetings.
Mr Wong received a warm welcome from Indonesian Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto at the Defence Ministry, where they spoke about the close and long-standing ties between both countries' defence establishments.
"I am glad our defence relationship has grown from strength to strength over many years, including during the pandemic," Mr Wong said.
Mr Prabowo said he hoped the cooperation and friendship between the two neighbours can be maintained "in the spirit of brotherhood and the principle of mutual respect" given that they share many common interests, Indonesia's Defence Ministry said in a statement.
"Indonesia views Singapore as a friendly country and an important strategic partner, one of the closest neighbouring countries that has significance for Indonesia's national and regional interests," Mr Prabowo was quoted as saying.
Mr Prabowo also said he was optimistic that defence cooperation will continue to be strengthened in education and training, such as the exchange of staff officers and service commanders as well as the Safkar Indopura exercise.
Mr Wong, who is a co-chair of Singapore's Multi-Ministry Task Force on Covid-19, also met Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin. They exchanged updates on the Covid-19 situation and recovery efforts in their countries, and ideas to strengthen bilateral and international partnerships.
Mr Wong also met Minister of State-Owned Enterprises Erick Thohir and had a discussion on bilateral and regional cooperation across several sectors - the economy, energy, food and people-to-people ties.
He also discussed opportunities for regional cooperation in the areas of digital and green finance with Bank Indonesia Governor Perry Warjiyo.
Mr Wong is also scheduled to visit Kendal Industrial Park in Central Java, where he will meet key business leaders and connect with Singapore start-ups in Indonesia.
He noted that Indonesia is Singapore's close neighbour and important partner.
"We have worked with each other for many years, with deep and multifaceted cooperation in areas spanning the economic, security and people-to-people spheres. And this year marks 55 years of diplomatic relations between our countries!" he said.