Singapore upgrades statuses of diplomatic representatives in Batam, Medan

Singapore upgrades statuses of diplomatic representatives in Batam, Medan

PHOTO: The Straits Times
Singaporean Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan on Wednesday upgraded the country's representative status in Batam, Riau Islands, to consulate general from consulate.

He said the partnership between Singapore and Riau Islands was a key part of his country's relations with Indonesia.
"We are next-door neighbours. We have strong economic links and good connectivity, with nearly a hundred ferry crossings each day. It is no surprise that our people visit each other frequently," Balakhrisnan said on Wednesday, one day after he announced the upgrading of Singapore's representative status in Medan, North Sumatra, to consulate general from consulate.
Balakhrisnan discussed Indonesia-Singapore diplomatic relations in the opening of a photo exhibition themed "RISING50 Singapore-Kepri", which accompanied the inauguration of the Singaporean Consulate General in Batam.

Photos displayed in the exhibition show various Indonesia-Singapore partnerships in Riau Islands, such as the groundbreaking ceremony of the construction of the Batamindo Industrial Park in the 1990s.

Singapore and Indonesia started operating the industrial park in 1992. The complex has employed 60,000 workers.

Successful co-operation between the two countries was also seen in the development of the Bintan Integrated Resort area in Lagoi, which began operating in 1996. Last year, 670,000 tourists visited the resort.

Singapore first opened its consulate in Batam on April 27, 2009, in a bid to support its economic co-operation with Indonesia. Data shows that 50 per cent of 6,000 foreigners in Batam are from Singapore.