Albanese vows support for PH in South China Sea row
MANILA, Philippines – Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese told President “Bongbong” Marcos that Australia is backing the Philippines in the maritime dispute with China over the West Philippine Sea.
The Australian head of state made this position known during his visit to the Palace on Friday.
This was followed by a bilateral meeting between the two leaders.
“We have important security issues where we have common views about — the need to uphold international law, and Australia’s position on that will continue to be consistent as we have always been including recently over issues relating to the South China Sea,” said Albanese.
According to the Prime Minister, there is a collective responsibility for security in supporting the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos).
“UNCLOS is very important and Australia does support, as I said at the Asean summit, the 2016 South China Sea Arbitral award, that is final in its finding and it’s important that it be upheld going forward,” Albanese stressed.
He was referring to the time when the Philippines challenged China’s nine-dash line claim in the South China Sea — which included portions of the West Philippine Sea — through the International Permanent Court of Arbitration (IPCA) in The Hague in 2013.
The Philippines won the case in 2016.
The Australian leader also said he hopes his visit to the Philippines and signing a new strategic partnership will further strengthen the relationship between the two countries.
“I know that Australia and the Philippines are great friends and I hope that this visit would help to take it to an even higher level as we go forward,” he said .
“The new strategic partnership that would be signed today will strengthen the bilateral ties that we had for 77 years,” he added.
Furthermore, Albanese also said with the launch of Australia’s “Southeast Asia Economic Strategy to 2040” during the 43rd Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit, he sees the future of Australia in Southeast Asia, especially in the prospect of trade and economic engagement.