The third ASEAN Maritime Forum (AMF 3) began in Manila in the Philippines on October 3, attended by senior officials and maritime experts from ASEAN and focusing on ways to step up maritime cooperation and security in the region.

Speaking to the press, Under Secretary for Policy at the Filipino Department of Foreign Affairs Erlinda Basilio said that in order to deal with maritime issues, the AMF aims to increase cooperation within the ASEAN Political-Security Community framework.

The discussions at the forum will include ensuring freedom of navigation, combating piracy, protecting the marine environment and promoting eco-tourism and fisheries operations in East Asia , she added.

The official also said that ASEAN’s partners, including Japan , China and the US , will attend their first talks at the ASEAN Maritime Forum on October 5.

Territorial maritime disputes are not included in the agenda of either meeting, she noted.

The AMF was initiated by Indonesia and first held in the country in 2010, with the second taking place in Thailand in August 2011./.