MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The leaders of Indonesia and the Philippines pledged Friday to boost bilateral ties and launch maritime patrols of their sea border to prevent kidnappings.
Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo said on the first day of a state visit that he and President Rodrigo Duterte also agreed to expand cooperation on countering terrorism.
Jokowi said they will launch as soon as possible, along with Malaysia, maritime patrols of their sea borders. There has been a wave of cross-border kidnappings and boat attacks by Abu Sayyaf extremists and other outlaws in the area.
The two leaders are to inaugurate on Sunday a new direct sea link that will halve shipping time and boost trade between two southern Philippine cities and Indonesia's Bitung city.
"President Duterte and I agreed to elevate cooperation in various areas: politics and security, economy, maritime, and people-to-people contact," Jokowi said.
Duterte said they "expressed readiness to step up cooperation against terrorism, violent extremism, piracy at sea and transnational crimes, including the trade of illicit drugs."