President’s Hall, Malacañan Palace
May 18, 2023

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. welcomed Senator the Honourable Penelope Wong, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Australia, in a courtesy call at the President’s Hall in Malacañan Palace.

During the meeting, President Marcos Jr. and Minister Wong expressed keen interest in elevating bilateral relations between the Philippines and Australia as strategic partners on areas concerning defense cooperation, trade and investments, including exploring critical minerals to avail of new technologies being developed towards a clean energy economy.

Minister Wong also stated that Special Envoy for Southeast Asia Nicholas Moore, who was in Manila this year, would develop an economic development and strategy between Australia and the Philippines.

On areas concerning defense cooperation, both the Chief Executive and Minister Wong expressed similar concerns amid growing tensions in the South China Sea, stressing the need for a rules-based approach in settling territorial disputes, such as the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Likewise, both shared aspirations towards attaining stability and peace in the region, especially since Southeast Asia lies at the center of the Indo-Pacific region.

Prior to meeting President Marcos Jr., Minister Wong had a bilateral meeting with Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Enrique Manalo where they discussed the progress and renewed commitment between the two countries. Minister Wong also met with Philippine Coast Guard officials where she expressed support for maritime patrol efforts.

Coinciding with her visit to the country, the Philippine Army and the Australian Defense Force kicked off their joint military drills dubbed ‘Exercise Kasangga’ on Monday (May 16).

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