Duterte asks China for help to fight piracy, compares Sulu Sea to Somalia

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has asked China to help in the fight against Muslim militants belonging to the Abu Sayyaf group by sending ships to patrol southern waters plagued by raids on commercial vessels.

Malaysia and Indonesia have already vowed to deploy naval vessels in the area to help fight the scourge.

Duterte said piracy in the Sulu Sea could rise to levels seen in Somalia eight years ago.

“We would be glad if they have their presence there … just to patrol,” Duterte said, adding that China could send coast guard vessels, not necessarily “gray” warships.

Duterte has been far more China-friendly than his predecessor since assuming power last year, despite ongoing arguments about who owns what in the South China Sea.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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