Hanoi (VNA) – The Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia have agreed to step up cooperation to curb piracy, smuggling and other crimes in the Sulu Sea, the border area common to the three countries.

The Philippines’ Department of National Defence (DND) on May 29 said that the agreement was made by DND Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Malaysian Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein and Indonesian Defence Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu on the sidelines of the ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting in Vientiane, Laos on May 26.

The ministers agreed to pursue joint training, with Indonesia proposing at least two joint exercises a year.

The three nations also agreed to increase cooperation among their intelligence units and use existing platforms for joint patrols at sea.

The coordinated patrols will be in accordance with the Joint Declaration on Immediate Measures in the Maritime Areas of Common Concern signed by the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia on May 5.

The three defence chiefs plan to have a further meeting in the Philippines in June.-VNA