Philippines-Indonesia sea border pact comes into force

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 02 2019 05:10 AM

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin and Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi shake hands after signing the Protocols of Exchange of the instruments of ratification concerning the delimitation of the EEZ between the 2 countries at the sidelines of the 52nd ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting in Bangkok, Thailand. DFA

MANILA—An agreement establishing the boundary between the overlapping exclusive economic zones (EEZs) of the Philippines and Indonesia came into force Thursday following 2 decades of negotiation, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin and Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi signed Protocols of Exchange of the instruments of ratification concerning the delimitation of the EEZ between the 2 countries at the sidelines of the 52nd ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting in Bangkok, Thailand.

"The agreement is expected to benefit both countries, economically and politically, by promoting more bilateral cooperation in the EEZ in order to advance the common interest of managing and preserving the resources in the EEZ and further strengthening maritime security cooperation between the two countries," DFA said in a statement.

The treaty, which was first discussed in June 1994, was formally signed by 2 countries on in May 2014 in Manila. It was ratified by President Rodrigo Duterte on in Feb. 2017 and by the Indonesian Parliament in April 2017.

Both countries are parties to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and are entitled to EEZ of 200 nautical miles.

Under the convention, states have sovereign rights to explore and exploit, and conserve and manage natural resources, among others, within their EEZ.

The Philippines and Indonesia have overlapping EEZs in the Mindanao and Celebes seas, and in the southern section of the Philippine Sea in the Pacific Ocean.

Meanwhile, Locsin chaired the 17th Ministerial Meeting of the Southwest Pacific Dialogue (SwPD) on the sidelines of the 52nd ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting.

The SwPD is a forum for its 6 members—Australia, Philippines, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and Timor-Leste—to exchange views and information on various issues of common concern.

The meeting focused attention on regional maritime security and cooperation, including marine biodiversity and environmental protection; inter-connectivity and cyber security; and disaster risk management.

The ministers adopted a joint statement reaffirming the importance of regional cooperation and committing to stronger cooperation among the SwPD countries.

The Philippines turned over to Timor-Leste the chairmanship of the 18th ministerial meeting of SwPD in Vietnam in 2020.