Philippines, Indonesia ink deal on maritime boundaries

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Friday, May 23, 2014


MANILA (Updated) –- The Philippines and Indonesia signed Friday, after two decades of negotiation, the agreement regarding the delimitation of their overlapping exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the Mindanao Sea, Celebes Sea, and the Philippine Sea.

Philippine President Benigno Aquino III described the pact as a milestone agreement that is founded on the principles of international law, particularly the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

“It serves as solid proof to our steadfast commitment to uphold the rule of law and pursue the peaceful and equitable settlement of maritime concerns,” Aquino said.

Philippines Indonesia
Philippine President Benigno Aquino III (fourth from right) listens as Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (fourth from left) gestures during a signing ceremony at the Malacanang Presidential Palace in Manila, Philippines, Friday, May 23, 2014. (AP Photo)


Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said the agreement is a good example that any dispute, including maritime border tension, can be resolved peacefully.

Yudhoyono said the use of military endangers stability and peace in the region and other countries.

The agreement was reached on the basis of international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos) and the state practice and decisions of international tribunals on maritime boundary delimitation.

The pact was signed in Malacañang Palace by Aquino and Yudhoyono, who is in Manila for a two-day state visit until Friday for the World Economic Forum (WEF) on East Asia.

Yudhoyono expressed hope that the Philippines and Indonesia could cooperate in other areas following the signing of the agreement on delimitation of maritime boundaries.

“For example, we may cooperate in maritime and fisheries, cooperation in (combating) the transnational crime and cooperation in eco-tourism and other areas in which I know will bring great benefit for Indonesia and the Philippines,” he said.

The two leaders also signed Friday a Memorandum of Understanding on Higher Education Cooperation, and a Memorandum of Understanding on Combating International Terrorism.

“Without a doubt, these agreements reflect the strong resolve of both our nations to not only deepen our bilateral engagements, but also, and more importantly, enable our peoples to be true partners in achieving prosperity,” Aquino said.

Aquino noted of Indonesia’s being the Philippines’ 11th largest trading partner in 2013, with total trade between the two countries amounting to $3.51 billion.

“We both share the belief that much more can be done to maximize the prospects of equitable growth. In this regard, we took note of the commitment in the Plan of Action to double bilateral trade by 2016,” he said.

The leaders discussed initiatives on enhancing cooperation across a wide range of areas, including political, economy, trade and climate change.

Among other discussed topics were initiatives on enhancing cooperation across a wide range of areas, including political, economy, trade and climate change. (SDR/PNA/Sunnex)

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