From the Jakarta Post (Jul 22): Indonesia still believes Manila committed despite canceled meeting
A map of the Sulu waters, the southern Philippines and the surrounding areas(Courtesy of freemalaysiatoday.com/-)
Indonesia still thinks the Philippines government will cooperate to secure the Sulu Sea despite the cancelation of a trilateral defense ministers' meeting that was scheduled for July 21, an official says.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Arrmanatha Nasir confirmed on Thursday that the signing of a trilateral maritime cooperation agreement between Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines on May 5 to secure the Sulu Sea had cemented the commitment of the three countries toward safeguarding the key trade lanes.
"And a meeting on July 14 in Jakarta had resulted in the signing of the framework arrangement that sets down the results of the agreement in the Yogyakarta Declaration," Arrmanatha told The Jakarta Post, referring to the joint declaration on maritime security from May 5.
He said the framework, as well as the standard of procedure contained within it, has given a green light to initiate steps to coordinate a joint patrol.
"I think this shows a high commitment from the three countries, from Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines," Arrmanatha said.
"It is a living document, so it will continue to develop, with changes to be made if there are things that need to be added," he said.
The trilateral meeting was cancelled because the Philippines' Delfin Lorenzana was unable to attend it.
"According to the information we have received, one of the ministers, the Philippine minister, was not available because of urgent matters that needed his attention in his home country," Arrmanatha said, denying that it indicated a lack of commitment from the Philippines.