JAKARTA, Sept. 9 (UPI) — Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and Indonesian President Joko Widodo agreed Friday to work closely to curb Islamic extremism and combat maritime piracy in the open waters between the island nations.
The two leaders signed an agreement for added patrols in the Sulu Sea, allowing Indonesian authorities access to Philippine waters if they are in pursuit of pirates. Duterte, known for his outspoken style and controversial comments, said piracy is a “crime against humanity” and encouraged Indonesian forces to “feed [pirates] to the sharks.”
“[Indonesian forces] can go ahead and blast them off. That’s the agreement,” Duterte said.
The Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia have been building plans to patrol the shared waters to stop piracy and a surge in abductions this year. The Islamic State-linked extremist group Abu Sayyaf, the leading cause of the kidnappings and deaths in the region, has been focusing its efforts on dismantling the Philippine government.
“Both sides likewise viewed with grave concern the threat of terrorism and violent extremism. We agreed to work together to prevent, arrest and prosecute all those who seek to sow fear and terror in our societies,” Duterte said before hundreds of Filipinos at the Shangri-La hotel in Jakarta.