September 7, 2023
“I welcome Australia’s active engagement in maritime related issues and concerns in the region, and we, the Philippines, thank Australia for expressing concern on the latest actions directed against the Philippines in the South China Sea. We join Australia on the call for peace, stability, and respect for the 1982 United Nations Law of the Sea Convention or UNCLOS,” President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. announced at the 3rd Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-Australia Summit in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Attended by fellow ASEAN Leaders and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, the President expressed his gratitude for Australia’s support during the Philippines’ hosting of the 12th ASEAN Maritime Forum and the 10th Expanded Maritime Forum held in Manila in December 2022.
He also acknowledged Australia’s contribution to the Project-based Community Medical Deployment/Medical Aid Provision Initiative under the ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting Plus Experts’ Working Group on Military Medicine.
On other areas of cooperation, such as the Australian for ASEAN Future (Aus4 ASEAN Future Initiative) on food security, the President announced that the Philippines welcomes the adoption of the ASEAN-Australian Joint Leaders’ Statement on Strengthening Cooperation on Food Security in Times of Crises. He emphasized that food security and nutrition during crises are common concerns shared by all ASEAN Member Countries.
The Chief Executive also shared his optimism that with the Philippines signing onto the second protocol to amend the agreement establishing the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA), it would provide fresh opportunities to improve the flow of goods, services and investments between the ASEAN and Australia.
In closing, President Marcos Jr. conveyed his warm welcome to Prime Minister Albanese for his scheduled visit to Manila following the conclusion of the 2023 ASEAN Summit.