Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines join forces on maritime security amid increasing threats
The Jakarta Post
Indonesia will gather with Malaysian and Philippine officials in the capital next month to coordinate a joint patrol and intensify maritime security as a response to the increasing threats happening in the region's key trade sea lanes, an official said on Thursday.
The trilateral meeting scheduled to take place on May 5 would involve foreign ministers and military top officials from each country, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Arrmanatha Nasir said.
"The meeting will produce a joint statement on the commitment to maintain security in the region that is a common interest of the three countries and to maintain stability that is conducive to economic activity and the movement of people around the region," he told journalists during a press briefing on Thursday.
The military commanders of the three countries will also sign a memorandum of understanding on the cooperation and coordination of maritime security.
The meeting will also discuss details and commitments in the running of the joint patrol, including standards of procedure issues, patrol zones and resources to protect the waters, Arrmanatha said.
The meeting comes at the initiative of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo in the wake of the recent hijacking and hostage-taking of Indonesian seamen by the Philippines' Abu Sayyaf militant group.
Although there is continuous daily communication between the Indonesian and the Philippine governments regarding the movement of the terror group and the condition of the hostages, Arrmanatha said the meeting would not specifically discuss release efforts.
The notorious Abu Sayyaf rebels had demanded a US$ 1 million ransom for 10 Indonesian seamen whose vessels were hijacked late last month. The group also tried to hijack other Indonesian-flagged vessels in mid April in Malaysian and Philippine waters but failed to do so following the arrival of Malaysian authorities. Still, the group managed to take four Indonesian crew members, which total 14 Indonesian currently held captive. (rin)
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