Second Minister for Defence Urges Indonesian Leaders Not to Sacrifice Carefully Built Bilateral Relations
"I am disappointed with the Indonesian decision to name their new warship after the two convicted ex-marines. I am also disappointed with the reactions of the Indonesian leaders who have spoken on this issue thus far.
The statements reflected either a lack of sensitivity, a lack of care for the bilateral ties, or both.
The relations between the two countries were carefully built up over many years. Despite the dark episode of the Konfrontasi and MacDonald House bombing, our leaders Mr Lee Kuan Yew and Pak Suharto demonstrated great statesmanship to bring closure to the difficult moments and worked together to usher in a new era of cooperation for mutual benefit. I hope the new generation of Indonesian leaders will display similar wisdom and leadership to put the bilateral ties foremost in all that we do. And not to do anything to reopen old wounds and hurt this relationship so carefully built up.
I have made many Indonesian friends over all these years, especially during my two year stint in Jakarta as the Army Attache. Indonesians have shown me that they are able to appreciate the fine sensitivities of a relationship. I am thus disappointed with this episode. I hope the Indonesian leaders will not sacrifice our bilateral relations, so carefully built up, to domestic politics or through carelessness."