Jakarta, Sep 9 (IANS) The Philippines will grant the Indonesian navy access to its territorial waters if they are chasing pirates, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said during an official visit here on Friday.
“If the chase begins in Indonesia and continues in the international waters, and inside Philippine waters, they can go ahead and blast them off,” Efe news quoted Duterte as saying while interacting with the Filipino community in the Indonesian capital.
Piracy is a major concern for leaders of the region, who fear a Somalia-like rise in maritime insecurity in southeast Asia.
Duterte said he has already discussed the issue with his Indonesian counterpart Joko Widodo during the Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Summit that concluded on Thursday in Laos.
Duterte arrived in Indonesia overnight after attending the Asean conference and is scheduled to meet Widodo to discuss matters of maritime security.
In March, the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia agreed to set up joint patrols in the Sulu Sea, a region from where Filipino militant group Abu Sayyaf has kidnapped several Indonesian and Malaysian sailors in recent months.