SINGAPORE: Singapore and Indonesia will sign a set of agreements covering airspace management, extradition and defence cooperation when their leaders meet in Bintan on Tuesday (Jan 25).
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Indonesian President Joko Widodo will witness the signing and exchange of these agreements negotiated on the basis of the Framework for Discussions announced at the last Leaders’ Retreat in 2019, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said on Monday.
The set of agreements includes a realignment of the boundary between Jakarta Flight Information Region (FIR) and Singapore FIR, as well as a treaty for the extradition of fugitives.
There will also be a joint statement between defence ministers on the 2007 Defence Cooperation Agreement and its Implementing Arrangement between the Singapore Armed Forces and the Indonesian Armed Forces for the Military Training Area in Indonesia, as well as an Exchange of Letters to bring the agreements into force simultaneously.
An FIR is a specific region of airspace in which an air traffic services authority appointed by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) provides and manages flight information and alerting services.
The current Singapore FIR, managed by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore, includes Singapore's national airspace, as well as airspace over parts of Indonesia and the South China Sea.
Indonesia has repeatedly expressed its wish to take over control of the FIR above Riau islands, which has been managed by Singapore since 1946 as mandated by ICAO.
Singapore has repeatedly said that the FIR is not an issue of sovereignty, but of the safety and efficiency of commercial air traffic.
The meeting in Bintan will be their fifth Leaders' Retreat.
The leaders will also endorse the announcement of several Memorandums of Understanding signed ahead of the retreat, including in financial and economic cooperation, green and circular economy development, energy cooperation, and human capital development, PMO said.
“Prime Minister Lee and President Joko Widodo will review the progress made on bilateral cooperation since the last Leaders’ Retreat and discuss ways to expand collaboration in key areas of priority for both countries,” PMO added.
“They will also exchange views on regional and global developments.”
Mr Lee and Mr Widodo last met in Singapore on Oct 8, 2019, for the annual retreat traditionally held to foster bilateral relations. They have not had a retreat since due to COVID-19.
During the last retreat, the countries agreed on a Framework of Discussions on two issues: The status of the FIR and military training in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
Mr Lee said then that the framework acknowledges that the core interests and rights of both countries must be recognised and respected, and that both sides should negotiate agreements on these two issues that are durable and for the long haul.
During the visit on Tuesday, Mr Lee will be accompanied by Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean, Minister for Defence Ng Eng Hen, Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for Home Affairs and Law K Shanmugam, Minister for Transport S Iswaran and Minister for Manpower Tan See Leng.