With the deal, the two countries have broadened an alliance underpinned by their rejection of Beijing’s increasingly controversial activities in the South China Sea.
In addition to the objective to further enhance trade and economic engagement, Albanese said their nations “have common views about the need to uphold international law.”
He described Australia and the Philippines as “great friends” and expressed hope his visit would take their seven-decade partnership “to an even higher level”.
China’s Territorial Claims In South China Sea
Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia, Brunei, China and the Philippines have been locked in a long territorial dispute in the waterway – considered a key passageway for global trade.
In just-concluded ASEAN Summit talks in Jakarta, Albanese underscored Canberra’s recognition of a 2016 arbitration ruling that invalidated China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea.
Beijing, however, did not participate in the arbitration, rejected its outcome and continues to violate it. Chinese Premier Li Qiang was also in attendance at the Jakarta summit talks.
The Philippine president thanked Albanese for renewing Canberra’s position during the event, adding: “To have friends like you and partners like you … is very gratifying.”
Chinese Coast Guard’s Provocative Actions
The international community swiftly criticised an August 5 action by a Chinese coast guard ship that blocked a Philippine boat delivering supplies to Filipino forces at the Second Thomas Shoal.
Beijing also claims the atoll and has surrounded it with vessels in a long standoff. A Chinese coast guard ship was engaged in another provocative activity while the leaders met in Manila.
The Philippine government condemned the blockade, which the two involved supply boats managed to breach, and vowed it would not be deterred by the aggression.