Although a contiguous state and an ASEAN partner, Indonesia's relations with the Philippines were more distant than with its other immediate neighbors. The Philippines' aligned status with the United States and its simmering territorial dispute with Malaysia over the sovereignty of Sabah inhibited a close relationship with Indonesia and other ASEAN members. Most worrisome for Jakarta was the seeming inability of the Philippines' government to put an end to its internal wars. Indonesia viewed the growth of the communist New People's Army as destablizing for the region. Moreover, the Muslim insurrection in the Philippines' south had implications for regional territorial integrity as well as Indonesian Muslim politics.
As the Ferdinand Marcos regime came to an end in 1986, Jakarta associated itself with the other ASEAN states in welcoming a peaceful transfer of power to Corazon Aquino. Jakarta was the first capital visited by the Philippines' new president, unprecedentedly even before Washington, and Suharto took the opportunity to press the urgency of defeating the New People's Army. To show support for Aquino's government, Suharto insisted that the 1987 ASEAN Manila Summit meeting go forward despite apprehensions in other ASEAN capitals about the security situation. Jakarta was not displeased that Aquino was succeeded in 1992 by Fidel Ramos, who, as chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and later secretary of national defense, was well-known to ABRI's senior leadership.
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