Canberra and Manila can draw on what is approaching 75 years of diplomatic relations to respond to regional challenges and enhance cooperation.
The announcement by the Duterte administration last month that it will terminate the 1998 Philippines-US Visiting Forces Agreement will likely also raise questions about the future of the Australia-Philippines political and security relationship. Australia and the US are the only two countries that have formalised such arrangements with the Philippines.
Australia and the Philippines finalised their Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) in July 2012 – after five years of deliberation by the Philippine senate. The SOFA provides a legal and operational framework for Australia-Philippines defence cooperation, and it builds on earlier joint defence commitments, including the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperative Defence Activities (1995) and to Combat International Terrorism (2003). These initiatives reflect a convergence of strategic interests and are consistent with the historic security cooperation between the two countries during the Cold War and in the post 9/11 period.