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Indonesia; Singapore: Maritime Border Pact Signed

(Sept. 11, 2014) On September 3, 2014, Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong witnessed the signing of the Treaty Between the Republic of Indonesia and the Republic of Singapore Relating to the Delimitation of the Territorial Seas of the Two Countries in the Eastern Part of the Strait of Singapore. The pact was concluded during a state visit of Yudhoyono to Singapore. (Press Release, Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs, State Visit of the President of the Republic of Indonesia Dr Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, 2 to 4 September 2014 (Sept. 3, 2014).)

This treaty, the second one on the subject signed by the two countries during Yudhoyono’s administration, establishes the maritime border in a 5.1 nautical mile section of the eastern portion of the Singapore Strait, from Changi, an area in Singapore, to Batam, an Indonesian island. (Zakir Hussain, Singapore, Indonesia Sign Treaty on Maritime Borders in Eastern Singapore Strait, STRAITS TIMES (Sept. 3, 2014).) The first treaty, concluded in Jakarta in 2009, covered the western part of the Strait. (Saifulbahri Ismail, Singapore and Indonesia Sign Milestone Maritime Treaty, CHANNEL NEWSASIA (updated Sept. 4, 2014); Lilian Budianto, RI, Singapore Sign Maritime Boundary Agreement, JAKARTA POST (Mar. 11, 2009).)

Speaking about the treaty, Yudhoyono stated, “[i]n a world marked by tensions and disputes, with this treaty we are demonstrating that with strong political commitment it is possible to achieve mutually acceptable solutions. Through this agreement we set this new milestone in our bilateral relations.” (Ismail, supra.) Singapore’s President, Tony Tan Keng Yam, also praised the treaty and placed it in the context of the overall relationship between the nations, adding, “[w]e have launched a new phase of our economic partnership through the establishment of dedicated working groups and enhanced our cooperation in the islands of Batam, Bintan and Karimun. We have concluded MOUs in areas such as diplomatic training, education and capacity building for public officials.” (Id.)