Indonesia & Singapore sign landmark agreements

President Joko Widodo, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong
President Joko Widodo and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Leaders’ Retreat on Bintan island, Tuesday (1/25/2022). Photo: BPMI SETPRES/LAILY

IO – Indonesia and Singapore have agreed on three strategic issues, in areas of politics, law and defense. The agreements were signed by Indonesian President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) and Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Leaders’ Retreat on Bintan Island, Tuesday (1/25/2022). 

The two leaders affirmed their commitment to strengthen the bilateral cooperation that will benefit the two countries. “The two heads of state witnessed the signing of three strategic agreements covering airspace boundary realignment between Jakarta Flight Information Region (FIR) and Singapore FIR, an extradition treaty for fugitives and a joint statement between Indonesian and Singaporean Defense Ministers to implement the Defense Cooperation Agreement of 2007,” as stated in the Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs and Investment’s official website. 

Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan and Singapore’s Senior Minister/Coordinating Minister for National Security have exchanged letters confirming that the three documents will come into effect simultaneously. “The signing of the three strategic agreements between Indonesia and Singapore will strengthen and refine cooperation areas of law, defense and security. They also reflect the constructive resolution of long-standing issues between the two neighboring countries,” said Luhut. 

Luhut said the signing of Indonesia-Singapore bilateral agreements shows the commitment of both countries to carry out the deals from the 2019 Leaders’ Retreat, through policy-level coordination led by the Coordinating Ministers of the two countries. 

On that occasion, the Transportation Ministers of the two countries signed a Flight Information Region (FIR) realignment agreement of Jakarta-Singapore before President Joko Widodo and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. 

This airspace agreement marks the completion of bilateral negotiations between Indonesia and Singapore to adjust the FIR boundaries according to international law. FIR realignment has been in negotiation between Indonesia and Singapore since the 1990s, but it has only moved towards completion in the last few years. 

“Indonesia has finally taken control over the FIR above Riau and Natuna Islands,” said Luhut. 

The two countries have to submit the FIR alignment agreement to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) for ratification. “The FIR realignment agreement between Jakarta and Singapore has affirmed the sovereignty of Indonesia. As a party of UNCLOS 1982, Singapore acknowledges the application of archipelagic state principle in determining the boundaries of a country’s territory. And Indonesia’s jurisdiction is in the waters and airspace of Riau and Bintan Islands,” said Indonesian Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi. (des)