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Jokowi, Lee pledge continuity in Indonesia-Singapore ties at their final retreat

Jakarta Post - April 29, 2024

Bogor, West Java (Agencies) – Accompanied by their successors, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong celebrated their achievements in bilateral ties over the past decade at their Leaders' Retreat at Bogor Presidential Palace on Monday, and promised continuity in future cooperation.

The meeting, a long-held tradition in which the countries' leaders and ministers meet informally each year to discuss ways to strengthen ties, was the seventh and final one for both leaders, who will be leaving office in 2024.

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Lawrence Wong is set to take over from Lee on May 15. Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto, who won the country's presidential election on Feb 14, will succeed Jokowi in October.

Describing the rare eight-eyed meeting as "particularly special" as it was his last with the Indonesian president, Lee expressed his confidence that the incoming leaders "will continue to bring the relationship to greater heights".

"From the present leadership to the next, we committed to look ahead, build on the strong foundation, and expand cooperation," he said at a joint press conference with Jokowi, the Straits Times reported on Monday. "I am glad that President Jokowi and I are handing over the bilateral relationship in a good state to our successors."

"May Singapore-Indonesia ties continue to flourish, far into the future."

President Jokowi said this leaders' retreat "is a strong signal for the continuity of cooperation between the two countries, Singapore and Indonesia".

Lee will step down next month and his deputy Wong will take over, the second non-member of the Lee family to lead the wealthy nation.

Wong, who is also the finance minister, was chosen as Lee's heir-apparent in 2022 from a new generation of lawmakers from the People's Action Party (PAP) which has ruled uninterrupted since independence in 1965.

The 51-year-old, US-educated economist is widely seen as a social media-savvy stalwart who effectively handled the COVID-19 crisis when he oversaw the government's pandemic taskforce.

The Constitutional Court last week rejected challenges to the country's presidential vote won by Prabowo, after his main rivals alleged rules were unfairly changed to allow the outgoing leader's son to run as his vice president.

Prabowo, 72, was confirmed in February as the next leader of Indonesia, beating former Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan and a third rival with 58.6 percent of the vote.

Source: https://www.thejakartapost.com/world/2024/04/29/jokowi-lee-pledge-continuity-in-indonesia-singapore-ties-at-their-final-retreat.htm