Trilateral patrols in the Sulu Sea

Hopes aren’t high.

Trilateral patrols in the Sulu-Sulawesi Seas: Don’t expect too much

Ristian Supriyanto

Notoriously described as the ‘terrorist transit triangle’ (T3), the Sulu-Sulawesi Seas have recaptured global attention after the Mindanao-based Abu Sayyaf Group kidnapped Indonesian and Malaysian nationals in late March-early April 2016. The kidnappings prompted Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines to initiate trilateral patrols. On May 5 the three governments met in Indonesia and issued a joint declaration that would serve as the political basis for such patrols.

The declaration included initiatives to establish a ‘national focal point’ for timely information and intelligence sharing, and a ‘hotline of communication’ to ‘facilitate coordination.’ Some of these initiatives are apparently similar to the current Malacca Straits Patrols, which have been lauded as a ‘model’ for implementation in the Sulu-Sulawesi Seas.

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