Philippines, Australia sign strategic partnership deal with eye on China

The Philippines and Australia fortify their safety and economic coalition on Friday with the signing of a planned collaboration, as they want to counter China’s developing region related impact. The agreement was concluded following a meeting between Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in Manila.

Mr Albanese’s visit, which marks the first bilateral conversations with an Australian prime minister in Manila in 20 years, follows a series of trips by senior members of his government to the Philippines since Mr Marcos took office in 2022. Under a planned partnership, the nations will want to raise cooperation in many areas from defence and safety to climate transformation and education.

“This elevation is a prominent symbol of the power of our rapport and our shared commitment to do more together,” Mr Albanese told officials, diplomats and reporters after the two governers signed the agreement. China’s rising assertiveness on Taiwan and the militarisation of artificial islands in the disputed South China Sea have spurred Canberra, as well as Washington, to polish defence cooperation with longstanding ally Manila.

At the beginning of conversations, Mr Marcos showed his gratitude to Mr Albanese for his “robust support” for the Philippines as it seeks to ward off maritime claims that are “invalid”, talking related to China. “To have companions like you and partners like you, specifically on that matter, is very gratifying and supports us to go on down that path,” Mr Marcos told Mr Albanese.