Now that signs of softening on China’s stance over the territorial dispute in the South China Sea is next to impossible, countries with existing claims in parts of the region have pledged to beef up its military presence and gang up against the relatively giant nation.
Sensing that fighting the giant on its own is a suicide; the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia have decided to team up in making its military presence in the region felt.
The three countries, whose military forces are in no way can be compared to China’s, have agreed to conduct joint military patrols in the contested territory to which, China claims 90 percent of the area by virtue of its self-imposed nine-dash-line rule, as previously reported by the Morning News USA.
In a meeting on Wednesday in Jakarta, Philippine Foreign Minister Jose Rene Almendras and his counterpart from Indonesia, Retno Marsudi, and representative from Malaysia, both agreed to establish a crisis response center in the sea between the three nations.
Although the main rationale behind the agreement was to address the threat of piracy posed by the Abu Sayyaf Group in the region, many are skeptical about the true intention of the agreement.
According to a report from the Hindustan Times, Indonesian President Joko Widodo, said he had already instructed his military commanders to draw standard operating procedure, which will be used in responding to emergency situations in the area.
Widodo added that teams from the Philippines and Malaysia have to abide by the standard operating procedures, which will be instituted in the region.
“We have agreed to set up a national focal point among the three countries to facilitate sharing of information and intelligence in a prompt way, and to coordinate in any emergency situation. This way, we can respond faster,” Widodo was quoted as saying by the Hindustan Times.
The tripartite meeting, which was initiated by Malaysia, was in response to the growing concern of piracy and kidnappings within the region.