Indonesia's coordinating economic minister calls on PM Lee, meets S'pore ministers

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong with Indonesia's Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto in Singapore on July 13, 2021. PHOTO: LEE HSIEN LOONG/FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong received a call from Indonesia's Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto on Tuesday (July 13) and they discussed possibilities for collaboration between the two countries.

PM Lee noted that Singapore and Indonesia share a strong friendship.

"I discussed with Pak Airlangga possibilities for new collaboration, including the digital economy. Our ties are growing despite the pandemic, and we are also working closely to overcome Covid-19," said PM Lee in a Facebook post.

He noted that Indonesia is currently experiencing a surge in cases.

"To help our neighbour and friend, Singapore is donating medical supplies to Indonesia. We hope that their situation will stabilise soon," he added.

"We look forward to doing more together, to seize opportunities in a post-Covid-19 future."

Mr Airlangga is in Singapore for a three-day working visit, during which he participated in the inaugural Asia Tech x Singapore (ATxSG) Summit organised by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA).

He also met Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies Heng Swee Keat on the sidelines of the event.

Mr Heng said in a Facebook post on Tuesday that he had discussed with Mr Airlangga ways to expand bilateral cooperation, including in areas such as digital economy and tech.

Noting that Mr Airlangga had shared Indonesia's perspectives on global governance and development cooperation during the summit, Mr Heng said these issues are especially salient amid the Covid-19 pandemic, as Indonesia prepares to assume the Group of 20 (G-20) presidency next year.

"As close neighbours, Singapore and Indonesia have supported each other in weathering the pandemic. I look forward to our continued cooperation to take our relationship to greater heights," Mr Heng added.

Mr Airlangga also met Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam and Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan.

In a Facebook post, Dr Balakrishnan said he had discussed with Mr Airlangga ways to keep up the momentum for key bilateral economic initiatives and break new ground.

He added that he was glad Batam's Nongsa Digital Park was officially designated a Special Economic Zone by the Indonesian government last month.

"Singapore will continue to work closely with Bapak Airlangga and his team to jointly develop the Batam, Bintan, and Karimun region, which has strong potential to be a digital and tech hub," he said.

Mr Airlangga is also scheduled to co-chair the Singapore-Indonesia Six Bilateral Economic Working Groups Ministerial Meeting with Singapore's Trade and Industry Minister Gan Kim Yong.

The meeting is a key platform for economic cooperation between the two neighbours in six key areas: Batam-Bintan-Karimun and other Special Economic Zones, investment, manpower, transport, agribusiness and tourism.

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