Philippines-Australia bilateral meeting at the sidelines of Exercise Alon

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The Hon Richard Marles MP

Deputy Prime Minister

Minister for Defence

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02 6277 7800

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25 August 2023

Australia and the Philippines are close partners and friends.

We share a firm commitment to a peaceful, stable and prosperous region where all countries are free to exercise their sovereignty consistent with international law.

We discussed the importance of all countries in the region exercising their agency in support of an Indo-Pacific region that is based on sovereignty, international law, and ASEAN Centrality.

Defence continues to make a significant contribution to our partnership. Under the Enhanced Defence Cooperation Program, we are working to broaden the scope of our cooperation and the complexity of our activities.

This intent is epitomised by Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2023. Today at Zambales, we observed joint amphibious activities which showed how far we have come to draw our militaries even closer together. Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2023 in the Philippines was supported by the United States Marine Corps, which demonstrated the value of partners working together to achieve mutual objectives.

We agreed on the importance of all states operating safely and professionally, while respecting and adhering to international law, particularly the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and we reaffirmed our strong support of the 2016 South China Sea Arbitral Tribunal Award.

We recommitted to planning bilateral joint patrols in the South China Sea/West Philippine Sea and other areas of mutual interest. We committed to expanding some of our bilateral activities in the future to include other countries committed to sustaining peace and security in our region.

We reaffirmed our support to elevate our relationship to a Strategic Partnership.

We look forward to holding our inaugural formal Defence Ministers’ Meeting in Australia in 2024.

The Honourable Richard Marles MP

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence

The Australian Government

The Honourable Gilberto C. Teodoro Jr.

Secretary of National Defense

Government of the Republic of the Philippines

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