President Halimah meets counterpart Widodo in first state visit to Indonesia

President Halimah meets counterpart Widodo in first state visit to Indonesia

President Halimah Yacob was received by President Joko Widodo at the Istana Bogor on Tuesday morning (Feb 4) during her first state visit to Indonesia. Both presidents reaffirmed the longstanding friendship and excellent relations between the two countries.  Saifulbahri Ismail with this report.

BOGOR, Indonesia: President Halimah Yacob was received by President Joko Widodo at the Istana Bogor on Tuesday morning (Feb 4) during her first state visit to Indonesia, said Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) in a press statement.

Both presidents reaffirmed the longstanding friendship and excellent relations between the two countries.

"We agreed that bilateral cooperation across the economic, security and people-to-people sectors was substantive and wide-ranging," said Madam Halimah in a Facebook post, adding that economic cooperation is a cornerstone of bilateral relations with Indonesia.

"As neighbouring countries with complementary strengths, Singapore and Indonesia are natural economic partners.

"I am therefore happy to co-witness the signing of the updated Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTA) with President Joko Widodo this afternoon."

The agreement was signed by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office and Second Minister for Finance and Education Indranee Rajah and the Indonesian Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati.

Halimah Yacob Joko Widodo agreement signing
Signing of the updated Singapore-Indonesia Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement by Second Minister for Finance Indranee Rajah and Indonesian Finance Minister Sri Muliyani Indrawati. (Photo: MCI/Chwee)
 

"The early ratification of the DTA, together with the Bilateral Investment Treaty concluded earlier, will enhance the already strong bilateral trade and investments between the two countries," added Mdm Halimah.

READ: No time to waste 'fighting yesterday's battles', says Vivian Balakrishnan on ties with neighbours

Mr Widodo said in a Facebook post he was "happy" to welcome Mdm Halimah and her husband Mohamed Abdullah Alhabshee at Istana Bogor.

"Ibu Halimah and I agreed to increase cooperation in mutually beneficial areas. Not only in education, but also investments, people-to-people relations and human resource development," he said.

Mdm Halimah and Mr Widodo agreed that there was significant potential for Indonesia and Singapore to explore cooperation in "new, forward-looking areas such as the digital economy and Industry 4.0", said MFA.

The two heads of state also welcomed the ongoing excellent cooperation between Singapore and Indonesia in human resource development and agreed on the importance of maintaining strong people-to-people ties.

Mdm Halimah highlighted the need for Singapore and Indonesia to continue working together on initiatives such as Youth Corps Singapore’s Youth Expedition Project Plus, which allows the younger generations from both countries to forge friendships and strengthen mutual understanding.

Halimah Yacob Joko Widodo
Singapore President Halimah Yacob shares a light-hearted moment with his Indonesian counterpart during the state banquet hosted by President Joko Widodo on Feb 4, 2020. (Photo: MCI/Chwee)

"President (Halimah) and President Joko Widodo also discussed Singapore’s ongoing efforts to strengthen cooperation with Indonesia’s regions, and were pleased that the inaugural RISING Fellowship for Indonesia’s regional leaders was held successfully from Nov 18 to Nov 21, 2019," said MFA.

They were also pleased to note that the Singapore Police Coast Guard and its Indonesian counterpart had signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Monday that would provide for information exchanges and the conduct of regular joint operations, patrols, as well as bilateral training initiatives.

Mdm Halimah met Vice-President Ma’ruf Amin in the afternoon. 

"They had a good discussion about the importance of education and vocational training in promoting human resource development," said MFA.

"They also exchanged views on building cohesive and harmonious societies, and agreed that Singapore and Indonesia could step up cooperation in this area, including through inter-faith dialogue."

Ma'ruf Amin Halimah Yacob
Indonesian Vice President Ma'ruf Amin calls on Singapore President Halimah Yacob on Feb 4, 2020. (Photo: MCI/Chwee)

READ: Singapore-Indonesia ties need to be 'continuously strengthened in every aspect': Vice President Ma'ruf Amin

Mdm Halimah will attend a reception with Singapore and Indonesian business leaders on Tuesday evening, as well as a reception for overseas Singaporeans in Jakarta, according to MFA.

She will continue her visit in Jakarta on Wednesday before travelling to Yogyakarta in the afternoon.

Source: CNA/jt

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