Philippines-Indonesia maritime border treaty enters into force

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An agreement creating the border between the Philippines and Indonesia’s overlapping exclusive economic zones (EEZs) came into force on Thursday after two centuries of negotiation, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said.

Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin and Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi signed protocols for the exchange of instruments of ratification on EEZ delimitation between the two countries on the sidelines of the 52nd ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting in Bangkok, Thailand.

The agreement is anticipated to benefit both nations economically and politically by encouraging more bilateral collaboration in the EEZ with a view to advancing the common interest of managing and maintaining assets in the EEZ and further enhancing maritime security collaboration between the two nations.

The treaty, first discussed in June 1994, was officially signed in Manila in May 2014 by two nations. It was enacted in February 2017 by President Rodrigo Duterte and in April 2017 by the Indonesian Parliament.

Both nations are parties to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and are entitled to 200 nautical miles EEZ. States have sovereign rights under the Convention to explore and exploit and, among other things, to preserve and handle natural resources within their EEZ.

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

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

The SwPD is a forum for its six members — Australia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, and Timor-Leste — to exchange opinions and data on multiple problems of common concern.

The conference concentrated on national maritime security and collaboration, including marine biodiversity and environmental protection; interconnectivity and cyber security; and catastrophe risk management.

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