Foreign Affairs Minister Retno LP Marsudi urged the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) members to improve security in the regions waters during the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting (AMM) Retreat in Boracay, the Philippines, on Feb 20-21.
“Every country has the main responsibility of securing its waters. Hence, Indonesia calls on the ASEAN countries to take steps to improve maritime security, especially in the Sulu Sea, Sabah waters, and the surrounding areas,” Minister Marsudi stated during her visit to the Philippines, as quoted by a release on Tuesday.
The two maritime areas are prone to crimes at sea, since within the last two years, several Indonesian citizens had become victims of kidnapping in those waters, Minister Marsudi remarked.
Hence, Indonesia has taken several initiatives to help improve maritime security in the ASEAN waters through coordinated patrols, she noted.
Indonesia and the Philippines will also launch a roll-on/roll-off route serving Bitung in North Sulawesi and General Santos and Davao of the Philippines. The sea route is expected to improve connectivity and economic integration in the ASEAN region.
The AMM Retreat is the first foreign ministerial meeting of the ASEAN under the chairmanship of the Philippines in 2017.
The Philippines has set six priorities for the ASEAN during its chairmanship: People-Oriented, People Centered ASEAN; Peace and Stability in the Region; Maritime Security and Cooperation; Inclusive, Innovation-led Growth; ASEANs Resiliency; and ASEAN: A Model of Regionalism, A Global Player.
During the meeting, Minister Marsudi addressed several issues, such as the follow-up of the 28th and 29th ASEAN summits, the Philippines priorities in 2017, external relations of the ASEAN, and several regional and international issues.
Indonesia also highlighted the importance of ASEAN member countries to deliver concrete results to society.
The ASEAN should also strengthen its unity and centrality in facing regional and global challenges.
Several issues to be put forth by Indonesia are maritime security, counterterrorism, ASEAN economic cooperation, and protection of migrant workers, among others.