The completion of the Philippines’ and Indonesia’s agreement on sea boundaries will serve as a benchmark for future accords on maritime borders, Malacañang said Sunday.
In a statement, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said Manila and Jakarta had completed their respective domestic requirements to create a “landmark agreement” on the delimitation of the Exclusive Economic Zone or EEZ Boundary between the two countries.
Panelo said this development was the highlight of President Rodrigo Duterte’s bilateral meeting with Indonesian President Joko Widodo that was held on Saturday night.
“Both leaders see this development as a clear demonstration of the strong and tight bond between the Philippines and Indonesia, he said.
President Duterte and Widodo met at the sidelines of the 34th ASEAN Summit to discuss ways to explore possible expansion of the two nations’ relations, especially in trade and investments.
They also discussed continuous cooperation in securing peace and order and in jointly fighting terrorism, illegal drugs and corruption, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said.
In their joint statement, the Philippines and Indonesia said the agreement will take effect this year upon the formal ratifications of the two countries’ respective foreign ministers.
This will set clear boundaries at the overlapping waters and allow the peaceful navigation and legal operation of both Filipino and Indonesian fishing vessels in their respective waters.
The agreement deals with the boundaries in the overlapping EEZ of the Philippines and Indonesia in the Mindanao Sea and the Celebes Sea.
“The Palace views this legal instrument as a good precedent on how to address maritime concerns and settle disputes in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, Panelo said.
As the Philippine government maintains its “friends-to-all, enemies-to-none” independent foreign policy, Panelo expressed hope that the accord would serve as a “benchmark for future agreements with other countries with shared or similar concerns as we continue to deepen cooperation with our strategic allies in the region.”
Philippines and Indonesia are currently celebrating the 70th anniversary of their diplomatic relations. With PNA