PM Lee Hsien Loong at the Joint Press Conference with Indonesian President Joko Widodo (Apr 2024)

Remarks by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the joint press conference with Indonesian President Joko Widodo at the Singapore-Indonesia Leaders’ Retreat on 29 April 2024, in Bogor, Indonesia.


Your Excellency President Joko Widodo
Ladies and Gentlemen

I thank President Jokowi for his warm hospitality. This is my seventh Leaders Retreat with President Jokowi. We hold these Retreats annually, except during the COVID years, and it is a signal of the high-level attention we have both paid to our bilateral ties. It is only natural that we do so because we are close neighbours and we are good friends with many common interests.

This year’s retreat is particularly special because it is the final one for both President Jokowi and me. I am very grateful that President Jokowi has made the special effort to host me and have me here just a few weeks before I hand over, for my last official visit as Prime Minister.

Bilateral Cooperation

Over the past decade we have made excellent progress in bilateral cooperation, in partnership with President Jokowi and his team. We have shared a commitment to deepening mutual understanding and to building strong relationships at all levels. Our defence cooperation has been regular and extensive. The Joint Update on Defence Cooperation we signed today reflects our robust defence ties. It gives me particular satisfaction because not only during my time as Prime Minister but even before that as a Minister, and even before that, when I was in the military serving as a serviceman, I have been working with Indonesia, the TNI and before that with ABRI, and I am very glad to see that this good relations have prospered and reached this stage today.

Our economic ties have been another pillar of the relationship. Investments from Singapore to Indonesia have increased steadily, and cumulatively they are exceeding S$74 billion. We have also taken steps to deepen our digital economy cooperation. Earlier this year, we signed an MOU on Cooperation on Digital Transformation and now we are following up on the Tech:X Programme which will encourage young tech professionals to gain valuable exposure in Singapore and Indonesia.

We look forward to Indonesia driving the green economy in our region  Bilaterally, we are making good progress in facilitating cross-border electricity trading, and we are exploring Carbon Capture and Storage. We also signed an MOU on Community Empowerment in Mangrove Ecosystems just a few minutes ago and I have suggested to President Jokowi that next we should look at the possibility of carbon credits.

Expanded Framework

As close neighbours, trust and mutual understanding between us make all the difference. At our 4th Leaders’ Retreat before Covid in 2019, President Jokowi and I agreed that it was time to work towards resolving some longstanding issues on airspace, defence, and extradition. We completed these agreements and they went into force last month. I thank President Jokowi and his Ministers for their role in bringing these three agreements to fruition. They show that when we work together in a spirit of friendship and openness, we can address even the most complicated issues in a pragmatic and mutually beneficial manner.


As this is my last Leaders' Retreat with President Jokowi, I would like to specially take this opportunity to acknowledge his contributions to Indonesia and to the region. With vision and leadership, he has put Indonesia on a strong economic trajectory, confident and optimistic about its path ahead and raise ASEAN standing as a participant in international affairs with a view which is worth listening to and a contribution which will make a difference. It has brought stability and progress to Indonesia and to the entire region. Indonesia is ASEAN’s largest economy. When Indonesia prospers, the region prospers. Under President Jokowi, Indonesia has been a constructive voice in a divided world – as we witnessed during Indonesia’s recent leadership of the G20 and also his recent chairmanship of ASEAN.

I am honoured to have had the privilege to work with President Jokowi throughout these years, during his two terms as President. While this Retreat is a fitting occasion to reflect and celebrate what we have achieved together, it is also about continuity and looking ahead. Typically we hold four-eye meetings at the Retreats between the two leaders, but this year we were glad to have an eight-eye meeting instead, with Pak Prabowo and DPM Lawrence joining us.

From the present leadership to the next, we committed to look ahead, to build on the strong foundation, and to expand our cooperation. I am glad that President Jokowi and I are handing over the bilateral relationship in good state to our successors. And I have every confidence that Pak Prabowo and DPM Lawrence will continue to bring the relationship to greater heights.

May Singapore-Indonesia ties continue to flourish, far into the future, or as you would say, maju jaya. Thank you very much.