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IBRU: Centre for Borders Research

Boundary news

Boundary news Headlines

Indonesia and the Philippines settle maritime border dispute

(26 June 2014)

On 23 May 2014 the foreign ministers of Indonesia and the Philippines signed an historic agreement defining the maritime boundary between their overlapping Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) in the Mindanao Sea and Celebes Sea. The dispute was resolved after 20 years of negotiations.

The Treaty of Paris of 1898 had not specified clear maritime boundaries between the Philippines and Indonesia, but rather drawn a rectangular line through the maritime territory between the countries. Indonesia disputed the rectangular line because it did not conform to principles contained in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), to which both countries are party. After negotiation, the Philippines aligned its boundaries with UNCLOS principles, allowing for the peaceful settlement.

The settlement was a “good example” of the peaceful resolution of sovereignty claims, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said. Philippine President Benigno Aquino agreed, noting that the agreement demonstrates the interest of the Philippines in pursuing “the peaceful and equitable settlement of maritime concerns.”

The maritime boundary delimitation will clarify issues for both Filipino and Indonesian fishermen.

Sources:

Philippines and Indonesia resolve 20-year border dispute, 23 May 2014, BBC News http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-27535004

How Indonesia and the Philippines Solved Their Maritime Dispute, 14 June 2014, The Diplomat, for The Diplomathttp://thediplomat.com/2014/06/how-indonesia-and-the-philippines-solved-their-maritime-dispute/

Philippines, Indonesia seal historic maritime deal, 23 May 2013, The Rappler, http://www.rappler.com/nation/58737-philippines-indonesia-eez-boundary-agreement