Jul 09, 2013

    Don't hurt ties with Indonesia, says Minister

    IT IS more important to take a constructive approach than to exert pressure on Indonesia over the haze situation, said Law and Foreign Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam yesterday.

    This is because exerting pressure will change relationships between the two countries and make them "unfriendly", and Singapore must avoid creating a situation where, for political reasons, parties take on a position that Singapore is threatening them, he said. He added: "International relations have to be handled delicately. (But) Singaporeans' interests are primary, we'll take that as a primary goal."

    He did not rule out international law as an option, but stressed that it is more important to put in place systems on the ground.

    He said: "We must maintain a clear, long-term perspective of the bilateral relationship, and do our utmost to avoid hurting this relationship, if at all possible."