Maritime security concerns grow

Senior Southeast Asian foreign ministry officials are meeting in the Philippines to improve maritime co-operation amid sea disputes that threaten regional stability.

Discussions during the three-day ASEAN Maritime Forum will focus on maritime security, sea piracy and ensuring “freedom of navigation” in the seas they share, the foreign department said in a statement on Wednesday.

ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Burma, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

“The Philippines would like to positively engage our partners to discuss cross-cutting maritime issues and explore ways and means to enhance activities aimed at bolstering maritime security and cooperation in East Asia,” said foreign department spokesman Raul Hernandez.

He said a chairman’s statement spelling out agreed cooperation efforts would be released on Thursday after the closed-door sessions.

The officials at the meeting are mostly deputy foreign ministers and senior foreign ministry officials.

The forum is to be expanded Friday to include ASEAN partners Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Russia and the United States, the department said.

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Article courtesy of 9 News.

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