Indonesian president Jokowi wraps up S'pore visit

Indonesian president Jokowi wraps up S'pore visit
At a joint press conference, President Joko and PM Lee vowed to continue to strengthen the close ties between Indonesia and Singapore in the areas of the economy, defence and people-to-people relations. They also witnessed the inking of three agreements by officials at the Istana.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo wrapped up his first official visit to Singapore on Wednesday, a visit that he used to boost bilateral ties. Apart from agreements to enhance ties in investment and trade, the two countries also signed memorandums of understanding on e-governance and youth and sports development, as well as agreements to boost co-operation on tourism, corruption eradication and law enforcement efforts against money laundering and other transnational crimes.

During Jokowi's visit, Jakarta and Singapore also agreed to step up counter-terrorism efforts, amid fears of growing Islamic State (IS) influence in Southeast Asia.

Jokowi said the two countries discussed efforts to share information and other issues related to terrorism and IS, adding that both parties acknowledged that terrorism was a threat to almost all countries.

"Singapore and Indonesia are very concerned about this issue," said Jokowi on Tuesday as quoted by the Cabinet Secretary website.

Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was quoted by Agence France Presse as saying, "We are both worried about ISIS and we both have nationals from our countries involved in terrorist activities in the Middle East."

On Wednesday, in the Singapore Botanical Gardens, Jokowi and First Lady Iriana attended an orchid-naming ceremony, where an orchid, the Dendrobium Iriana Jokowi, was named in the First Lady's honour.

"This is a flower of diplomacy, a flower that was used as a sign of our friendship. So, engaging in friendship does not only have to be done through meetings. The naming of the flower as Iriana Jokowi was a very memorable act," Jokowi said as quoted by Antara.

Later that day, Jokowi left Singapore for Semarang, Central Java, for a visit where he is set to launch the manufacturing of 1,000 busses for the bus rapid transit (BRT) system and attend an Indonesian Police Academy event.

Earlier in Indonesia, a picture of Jokowi and Singapore's President Tony Tan Keng Yam sparked confusion on social media by some who did not know about Singaporean protocol to only display the national and presidential flags of the host nation, not the visiting country's flag during bilateral meetings.

Indonesia also agreed to improve counter-co-operation with the UK earlier this week when UK Prime Minister David Cameron visited Jakarta for a meeting with Jokowi.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is also set to visit Jakarta on July 30 to Aug. 1, when he will participate in the Turkey-Indonesia Business Forum.

Jokowi will receive Erdogan at the Palace on Friday afternoon, a member of presidential communication team Teten Masduki said on Wednesday. However, it is not yet known whether the two leaders will discuss issues relating to counter-terrorism.

Erdogan has recently deemed that his country has a close cooperative relationship with Indonesia. Erdogan was quoted by the Turkish presidential website as saying, "We have elevated our relations with Indonesia to the level of a historical partnership in 2011. It is the biggest economy in the South East Asia and our biggest trade partner in the Far East".

State Secretary Pratikno recently said that Jokowi's visit to Singapore, the visit of Cameron to Jakarta and Erdogan's upcoming visit, showed that the world was paying attention to Indonesia.

"We will also use this momentum to improve our bilateral ties with the Europe, which are already strong, and with Turkey and of course with ASEAN; [these] will of course also support our strategic development programs in the future," Pratikno said recently.

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