WEF: Philippines, Indonesia sign deal on setting maritime boundaries

Philippine President Benigno Aquino (left) shakes hands with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (right) during the World Economic Forum on East Asia in Manila on May 22, 2014. The Philippines and Indonesia formally signed on Friday an agre
Philippine President Benigno Aquino (left) shakes hands with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (right) during the World Economic Forum on East Asia in Manila on May 22, 2014. The Philippines and Indonesia formally signed on Friday an agreement setting their maritime boundaries in the Mindanao and Celebes seas. -- PHOTO: AFP 

The Philippines and Indonesia formally signed on Friday an agreement setting their maritime boundaries in the Mindanao and Celebes seas.

"This is a milestone agreement that... serves as solid proof to our steadfast commitment to uphold the rule of law and pursue the peaceful and equitable settlement of maritime concerns," Philippine President Benigno Aquino said during a joint news conference with his Indonesian counterpart Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

Under the deal concluded after 20 years of talks, the Manila and Jakarta agreed to set new maritime boundary lines in the Mindanao and Celebes seas, covering rich fishing grounds, key trading routes and a potential source of oil or natural gas.

The overlap occurs in their so-called exclusive economic zones, defined by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea as extending from a country's coast up to 200 nautical miles in which it has special rights over the exploitation and use of marine resources, including energy resources.

Dr Yudhoyono is in Manila to attend this week's World Economic Forum (WEF) on East Asia. He will be conferred later in on Friday with the third Global Statesmanship Award from the WEF.

rdancel@sph.com.sg

Visit the WEF-EA site at http://www.weforum.org/events/world-economic-forum-east-asia-0