The defense ministers of the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia have agreed to explore joint air patrols during their trilateral meeting in Hawaii for the Asean-US Dialogue.
“The three ministers agreed to explore joint air patrols even while their respective armed forces are finalizing the parameters for maritime patrol in the agreed upon transit corridor in what the three countries consider as maritime areas of common concern,” the Department of National Defense (DND) said in a statement on Monday.
Last month, the three countries signed a document on standard operating procedures for trilateral maritime cooperation to secure regional waters.
The agreement to launch joint patrol in the seas after an increase of kidnappings led by the Abu Sayyaf this year.
“Primarily driven by the need to address the rising incidents of armed robbery at sea, kidnapping and piracy in the three countries’ areas of common concern, the trilateral meeting has evolved to be a platform for the defense ministers to address other emerging common concerns to include violent extremism,” the DND said.
“The phenomenon of returning fighters from the conflict in the Middle East could eventually create security challenges for the three countries, something which the ministers recognized and hence their decision to further get their act together,” it added. JE/rga