The Philippine-Australian relationship has a long history of bilateral cooperation. Since diplomatic relations were established in 1946 the two countries have had strong people-to-people links, sustained development cooperation, deep economic ties and robust security cooperation.
The Griffith Asia Institute and its partner Asia Pacific Pathways to Progress recently held the fourth Philippines-Australia Dialogue in Manila on 18-19 July 2019. This year’s dialogue was themed ‘Connecting the Spokes’ and identified the nuances of quasi-alliances and the ways that spokes connect to each other in an ever-increasing complex region.
The dialogue evaluated the comprehensive partnership between Australia and the Philippines and identified opportunities for sustaining the positive trajectory of the relationship in the face of regional challenges. Conversations generated throughout the dialogue focused on how the bilateral relationship has evolved over time in the areas of maritime security and defence cooperation, counter-terrorism measures and trade, investment and economic relations. Participants also discussed future challenges facing the bilateral relationship in the current political climate of strategic competition between the United States and China.
Dialogue speakers and participants included Ambassador Steven J. Robinson AO Australian Ambassador to the Philippines, former Philippine Permanent Representative to ASEAN Ambassador Wilfrido Villacorta, academics, policy practitioners, representatives from international organisations and members of the Philippine security and defence community.
Ambassador Robinson, in his keynote address titled, ‘Australia and the Philippines in an Evolving Region’ affirmed that Australia would not passively await its fate amid great-power contests but instead would actively participate in shaping regional affairs.