President Marcos Attends ASEAN-Australia Special Summit in Melbourne

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the first Philippine president to address the Australian Parliament, emphasizes the longstanding friendship and shared goals between the two nations. In his speech, the President highlighted ties dating back to the 1800s and collaboration during World War II. He stressed the importance of the Strategic Partnership amid current geopolitical and climate challenges, expressing confidence in the future of the Philippines-Australia partnership, grounded in common values and a spirit of unity. PRESIDENTIAL COMMUNICATIONS OFFICE PHOTOS
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President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. embarked on a trip to Australia to participate in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-Australia special summit in Melbourne. The summit, scheduled from March 4 to 6, commemorates the 50th anniversary of ASEAN-Australia relations, which began in 1974. Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese extended an invitation to President Marcos to attend the event.

During his departure from Villamor Air Base, the President expressed his anticipation for the summit, stating that it provides an excellent opportunity for the Philippines to reaffirm its national positions on regional and international issues. President Marcos will also set the tone for ASEAN’s Dialogue Partner Summits later in the year.

One of the key topics that President Marcos will address is the Philippines’ unwavering assertion of its sovereign rights in the West Philippine Sea. He aims to emphasize the country’s position on regional and international issues, highlighting the importance of upholding the rule of law. President Marcos also intends to express gratitude to Australia, ASEAN’s oldest Dialogue Partner, for its consistent support for the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the 2016 Arbitral Award. Australia has demonstrated its commitment through timely statements of support, capacity-building initiatives, and academic programs aimed at promoting appreciation for international law.

In addition to participating in the Leaders Plenary and Leaders Retreat, President Marcos is scheduled to hold bilateral meetings with the Prime Ministers of Cambodia and New Zealand. These meetings provide an opportunity for constructive dialogue and collaboration on various regional and global issues.

The President will also deliver a talk at the Lowy Institute, where he will emphasize the Philippines’ active role in world affairs and its contributions to the rules-based regional security architecture. This platform allows President Marcos to showcase the country’s commitment to maintaining peace, stability, security, and prosperity in the region.

Furthermore, President Marcos aims to promote Philippine business during the Philippine Business Forum organized by Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual. This forum will facilitate networking opportunities and highlight the Philippines’ potential for investment and economic growth. Additionally, the President will witness the launch of the expansion of the Victoria International Container Terminal, Australia’s first fully automated container terminal. This development further strengthens the economic ties between the two nations.

President Marcos emphasized that the administration is dedicated to ensuring that its engagements with ASEAN, external partners, and stakeholders serve the best interests of the Philippines. By promoting regional peace, stability, security, and prosperity, the administration aims to enhance the well-being of the Filipino people and the entire region.

The Philippines and Australia have a longstanding relationship, with formal diplomatic relations established on July 4, 1946. Australia serves as a second home to approximately 408,000 Filipinos and Australians of Filipino descent. The Filipino community in Australia consists of various professionals, including craft and related professionals, services and sales workers, skilled agricultural, forestry, and fishery workers, technicians and associate professionals, and managers.

In 2023, remittances from overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Australia amounted to $301.2 million, highlighting the significant economic ties between the two countries. Australian Ambassador to Manila Hae Kyong Yu expressed the importance of President Marcos’ visit, emphasizing the commitment of both nations to shape an open, stable, and prosperous region.

Australian Prime Minister Albanese echoed this sentiment, recognizing the Philippines as a central player and crucial partner in Southeast Asia. He emphasized the significance of investing in relationships to strengthen foreign policy and national security.

President Marcos also emphasized the importance of defense and security cooperation between the Philippines and Australia. He acknowledged that stability in the Indo-Pacific region is of utmost importance.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s participation in the ASEAN-Australia special summit reinforces the Philippines’ active engagement in regional affairs. It provides an opportunity to strengthen relationships, promote economic cooperation, and address key issues affecting the region. The President’s presence at the summit underscores the commitment of the Philippines to contribute to a peaceful, stable, and prosperous ASEAN-Australia partnership.

Source: The Manila Times

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