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Duterte to seek greater maritime security cooperation with M'sia

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said today he would seek greater cooperation in maritime security and fighting criminality at sea during his visit to Malaysia.

Duterte is scheduled to meet Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak during the two-day official visit, his first to Kuala Lumpur since taking office on June 30 this year.

"The focus of my visit shall be to strengthen the Philippines' partnership with Malaysia for security and stability," he said in a statement before departing from Manila.

"Foremost on my agenda is maritime security and the fight against piracy at sea," he added.

Duterte noted that as maritime nations, the Philippines and Malaysia must ensure that their "waterways are secured and that criminal and terrorist elements do not use our seas to undertake their illegal activities."

He said he would also push for more cooperation in combating the illegal drugs trade and seek Malaysia's continued support for Manila's efforts to forge peace with Muslim rebels in the southern Philippines.

Before traveling to Kuala Lumpur, Duterte will make a brief stop in Bangkok to pay respects to late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who he described as "a true friend of the Philippines."

"He will be remembered for his dedicated efforts to foster goodwill and friendship between our nations and peoples," he said. "For all he has done to bridge peoples to a greater understanding, he truly deserves a special place in history."

- dpa