Black Eagles, a South Korea Air Force aerobatic team, flies in formation during a media preview Feb. 9 ahead of the Singapore's Airshow. Indonesian defense officials have pulled out of the airshow, Jakarta said Sunday, as a row over the controversial naming of an Indonesian warship. (Roslan Rahman / AFP)
SINGAPORE — Indonesian defense officials have pulled out of this week’s Singapore Airshow, Jakarta said Sunday, as a row over the controversial naming of an Indonesian warship shows no sign of abating.
The Southeast Asian neighbors are locked in a bitter dispute over the Indonesian navy’s decision to name a refurbished frigate after two marines who staged a deadly bombing in Singapore in the 1960s.
“The visit by senior TNI (Indonesian National Armed Forces) officers, military chiefs of staff and TNI commander to Singapore has been canceled,” Indonesia’s defense ministry said in a statement issued late Sunday.
The statement also said that a visit by Deputy Defence Minister Sjafrie Sjamsoeddin to Singapore for a “strategic dialogue” had been scrapped too.
However, an aerobatic team would perform at the Singapore Airshow, which starts on Tuesday, to “demonstrate the capabilities of the Indonesian Air Force pilots before the international community,” it added.
Singapore has complained to Indonesia, its third-largest trading partner, about naming the warship “KRI Usman Harun.”
Usman Haji Mohamed Ali and Harun Said were executed in Singapore for their role in the March 1965 blast at a downtown office complex which killed three people and injured 33.
The attack was part of an effort by then Indonesian president Sukarno to stage an armed confrontation against the newly formed federation of Malaysia, which included Singapore.
Singapore acrimoniously split from Malaysia to become an independent country on August 9, 1965.
Total trade between Singapore and Indonesia reached Sg$79.4 billion ($62.6 billion) in 2012.
Singapore’s airshow is Asia’s top aerospace and defense gathering and features daily flying displays by military aircraft from several countries including the United States. It runs until Sunday.