Joint Statement


The Republic of the Philippines and Malaysia

[Manila, 06-07 March 2019]


  1. At the invitation of H.E. Rodrigo Roa Duterte, President of the Republic of the Philippines, H.E. Tun Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad, Prime Minister of Malaysia, undertook an Official Visit to the Republic of the Philippines from 06 to 07 March 2019.
  1. Building on the historic ties of both countries and the momentum of relations resulting from the two leaders’ initial meeting and dialogue during the Working Visit of President Duterte to Malaysia on 16 July 2018, both Leaders engaged in productive, and forward-looking discussions on topics of bilateral and regional import.
  1. In the spirit of fraternal relations and vibrant cooperation in key areas that have evolved since the establishment of diplomatic relations in May 1959, both Leaders commended the positive progress of the Malaysia-Philippines bilateral relations and affirmed their desire to further deepen relations through increased political and economic cooperation and people-to-people exchanges.
  1. Recognizing the value attached by the two countries in advancing their shared aspirations for peace and stability, regional prosperity and inclusive growth, both Leaders are committed to further develop and continue to support bilateral policy dialogues, including through established mechanisms, particularly the Philippines-Malaysia Joint Commission Meeting (JCM), as well as those convened at the sidelines of ASEAN-related and other sub-regional meetings.
  1. Both Leaders affirmed their commitment to enhance collaboration in addressing pressing security threats, particularly terrorism and transnational crimes.
  1. The two Leaders agreed to enhance trade, investment and infrastructure cooperation in support of each other’s growing economies and, to this end, committed to undertake the necessary domestic measures to boost competitiveness, improve the ease of doing business and develop human resources.
  1. President Duterte conveyed the appreciation of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines to Malaysia for its partnership and long-standing support for the cause of peace in Mindanao, including through its valuable role as the Third Party Facilitator and/or Special Adviser to the Peace Process and as member of the International Monitoring Team (IMT), which have helped pave the way towards peace and prosperity for the Bangsamoro, with the successful establishment of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) and the appointment of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) Both Governments agreed to explore further cooperation to realize the dividends of this peace for Mindanao, through development cooperation and even private sector initiatives.
  1. Both leaders recognized the good progress made in tourism collaboration which contributes to the strengthening of people to people ties. Both leaders also noted the positive effort of both Malaysia and the Philippines in the area of health and education, including through the recognition of community-run learning centers and the Malaysia-Philippines Joint Working Group (JWG) on Education Cooperation.
  1. On the South China Sea, the Leaders emphasized the importance of maintaining and promoting peace, security, stability, safety and freedom of navigation in and overflight above the South China Sea and recognised the benefits of having the South China Sea as a sea of peace, stability and prosperity. Both agreed that territorial and jurisdictional disputes should be settled through peaceful means, by avoiding the threat or use of force, and in accordance with universally recognized principles of international law, including the Charter of the United Nations and the 1982 UNCLOS. They also underscored the importance of the full and effective implementation of the Declaration of the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, in efforts to promote maritime security and cooperation, as well as building trust and confidence among concerned Parties. Both Leaders also expressed their Government’s hope for an effective Code of Conduct in the South China Sea.
  1. On the Korean Peninsula, both Leaders welcomed the ongoing talks among the relevant parties, underscoring the importance of peaceful dialogue in realizing the collective aspiration for peace and stability in the Peninsula, which impacts on the wider region.
  1. The Leaders reiterated and reaffirmed their governments’ full and long-standing commitment to ASEAN, as founding members, and to the realization of a rules-based, people-oriented, people-centered ASEAN Community, under the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 signed during Malaysia’s Chairmanship of ASEAN in 2015.
  1. Prime Minister Mahathir expressed his gratitude to President Duterte and to the Government of the Republic of the Philippines for the warm hospitality accorded him, Madame Tun Dr. Siti Hasmah binti Mohd Ali, and the Malaysian delegation.
  1. The two sides recognized that the Prime Minister Mahathir’s visit, reciprocating President Duterte’s visit in 2018, advances the partnership for progress and brotherhood for peace long cultivated by the two countries. Looking ahead to the future, both leaders pledged to foster the tradition of high-level visits and regular dialogue between both governments.