PM Lee and Jokowi to meet at leaders’ retreat in Singapore

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Indonesian President Joko Widodo will meet on Thursday for the Singapore-Indonesia leaders’ retreat. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO FILE

SINGAPORE - Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will meet Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Thursday for the Singapore-Indonesia Leaders’ Retreat, a year after both countries signed three landmark agreements on longstanding bilateral issues of airspace management, defence cooperation and extradition of fugitives.

At their meeting in Singapore, the two leaders will review the significant progress in bilateral cooperation since their last retreat, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said in a statement on Wednesday. This includes the ratification of these three agreements, whose signing PM Lee and Mr Widodo witnessed when they met in Bintan in January 2022.

They will also discuss strengthening the bilateral partnership in forward-looking areas across the economic, socio-cultural and security spheres, the PMO added.

It was previously reported that the three agreements, collectively grouped under the expanded framework, have been approved by the Parliaments of both countries.

Singapore and Indonesia will still have to jointly seek approval from the International Civil Aviation Organisation for the arrangements under the flight information region agreement so that all three agreements can take effect simultaneously on a mutually agreed date.

This year’s retreat will be PM Lee’s sixth with Mr Widodo. The two leaders are expected to witness the exchange of several agreements, signed ahead of the retreat, in areas such as energy, sustainability, health, and human capital development, as well as traditional fields like security.

Mr Widodo will be accompanied by a high-level delegation comprising ministers and ministerial-ranked officials, while PM Lee’s delegation will include Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Lawrence Wong, Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean and other Cabinet ministers.

PM Lee will also host Mr Widodo and the Indonesian delegation to lunch.

In a Facebook post on Wednesday evening, PM Lee said he looked forward to welcoming Mr Widodo at their retreat.

He recounted how the two leaders jointly planted a sunda oak tree at the Botanic Gardens in 2017 to mark the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Singapore and Indonesia.

“Hard and sturdy with deep roots, it symbolises the deep and strong foundations of the longstanding relationship between our two countries,” PM Lee said of the tree, which continues to flourish in the park.

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