Friday, October 20, 2017

Duterte calls for cooperation vs. piracy in Malacca Strait

From the Philippine News Agency (Oct 20): Duterte calls for cooperation vs. piracy in Malacca Strait

President Rodrigo Duterte called on the governments of Australia, Malaysia, and Indonesia to pool their resources with the Philippines in order to address the problem of piracy in the Strait of Malacca.

In his speech during the High Level Forum on Asean@50 held in Manila on Oct. 19, Duterte said he himself is inclined to “blast them (pirates) out of the seas to keep our shipping lanes open and safe.”

He said while the region has numerous concerns, the most urgent one is the problem in Malacca. “(The) one thing that must be immediately solved is really the problem of the Malacca Strait,” he said.

Duterte said the Strait of Malacca “used to be historically a supply route and a shipping lane that was very good for everybody.”

Forty percent of the world's trade passes through Malacca, and it has become the most important route of transport for oil from the Middle East to markets in East Asia.

Piracy has plagued the route for centuries, but Duterte said terrorism has of late entered the picture. “We see a lot of hijackings and killing of people, and capturing hostages for ransom,” he said.

“These are the things that I think (are) closest to Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. Somehow, I would say that something has -- a drastic -- a drastic action for a very dangerous situation,” he added.

Duterte said if nothing is done, that part of the sea lane of trade between Australia, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines “will continue to suffer the degradations of our trade and even the human being itself.”

He said he hopes to talk with the leaders of the three countries and urge them to put resources together in order to find a solution.

“They have committed enough piracy there. Enough money collected from ransoms, and needlessly killing people, decapitating them in front of cameras. I think that has to stop,” he said.

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