Singapore, Indonesia Sign Agreements to Resolve ‘Longstanding’ Bilateral Issues

By Aldgra Fredly
Aldgra Fredly
Aldgra Fredly
Aldgra Fredly is a freelance writer based in Malaysia, covering Asia Pacific news for The Epoch Times.
January 26, 2022Updated: January 26, 2022

Singapore and Indonesia inked three agreements on Tuesday to resolve “longstanding” bilateral issues relating to defense cooperation, airspace control, and fugitive extradition, Singapore’s Foreign Affairs Ministry said in a statement.

The agreements–on Flight Information Region (FIR), defense cooperation, and extradition–were signed in the presence of Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Indonesian Prime Minister Joko Widodo during the leaders’ retreat in Bintan, Indonesia.

Both leaders affirmed that the agreements “reflects the maturity of bilateral relations and illustrates our commitment to resolving longstanding matters of mutual importance amicably and constructively, for the long-term mutual benefit of our countries and peoples,” the statement reads.

The two nations agreed to realign the boundary between their FIRs for a period of 25 years, in which Indonesia will delegate to Singapore the provision of air navigation services in portions of the airspace within the realigned Jakarta FIR.

This would allow Indonesia to reclaim more airspace control above the Natuna and Riau islands, which Singapore had administered since 1946 under the auspices of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

The agreement takes into account the ICAO’s rules and could be extended by mutual consent, the ministry stated.

Singapore and Indonesia also signed a defense cooperation agreement to strengthen cooperation between their armed forces, which will be in force for 25 years.

Under the agreement, Singapore will be able to conduct military training and exercises in Indonesia, with full regard for Indonesia’s sovereignty over its territory, including its archipelagic and territorial waters and airspace, and in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

The two nations also concluded an extradition treaty that will grant extradition for a comprehensive list of offenses. This is provided that the extradition is in accordance with the laws of both countries, and is subject to the requisite safeguards and provisions stated in the treaty.

Under the extradition agreement, perpetrators of 31 types of crime will be liable to be extradited and it will apply to offenses committed up to 18 years ago, Indonesia’s investment and maritime affairs ministry said in a statement.

The agreement would also mean that perpetrators would not be able to escape justice by changing their citizenship, it said.

“Therefore, the implementation of the criminal extradition agreement will create a deterrence effect for felonies in Indonesia and Singapore,” the statement said.

The issue of extradition has long been a frustration for Indonesia because of concerns about the difficulty of bringing some fugitives accused of embezzling large sums during the Asian financial crisis to justice.

An extradition treaty and defense cooperation agreement were signed in 2007 by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Prime Minister Lee, but they were never ratified by Indonesia’s parliament.

Reuters contributed to this report.