14 December 2021 — Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr. met with Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne on the sidelines of the ASEAN-G7 Foreign and Development Ministerial Meetings in Liverpool, United Kingdom on 11 December 2021. Both sides reaffirmed their commitment to elevate Philippines-Australia relations from a Comprehensive Partnership to a Strategic Partnership.
“As our 75th anniversary year draws to a close, I take satisfaction in the breadth and scope of our engagement this year from our political, trade, defense, and counterterrorism mechanisms to our successful joint ministerial meeting,” said Secretary Locsin.
Secretary Locsin also congratulated Australia for becoming a Comprehensive Strategic Partner of ASEAN. “This is a well-deserved elevation of Australia’s enduring ties with ASEAN, which is the oldest among all of ASEAN’s dialogue partnerships,” the Secretary emphasized.
Secretary Locsin and Foreign Minister Payne agreed to work closely together on vaccines and COVID response. Australia has pledged to provide about 3.6 million vaccine doses to the Philippines, with the initial tranche of 700,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines received in November.
The two foreign ministers reiterated their firm commitment to enhance defense cooperation, including partnerships with Australia for the Philippines’ defense modernization program.
The two foreign ministers also discussed regional security issues, including the Australia-United Kingdom-US Enhanced Trilateral Security Partnership (AUKUS) and recent developments in the South China Sea. Secretary Locsin conveyed his appreciation for Australia’s statements of support for the 2016 Arbitral Award on the South China Sea and looked forward to further enhancing bilateral cooperation on maritime issues.
The Philippines and Australia marked 75 years of diplomatic ties this year (est. 22 May 1946), with a series of diplomatic, social, and community events in the Philippines and Australia.