President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. expressed his gratitude to the Australian government on Friday for supporting the Philippines in its claim over the West Philippine Sea (WPS) and for encouraging the country to remain steadfast in protecting its territory.

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has expressed his appreciation to Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese for supporting the Philippines in its claim over the West Philippine Sea (WPS) and for encouraging the country to remain steadfast in protecting its territory on Friday during the expanded bilateral meeting in Malacañang yesterday.

“Thanks to you, Mr. Prime Minister, for the strong support that you have made for the Philippines, especially during the past ASEAN conference, where you have made very clear that the claims that are being made upon Philippine maritime territory are not valid and have not been recognized and not in conjunction or consistent with international law,” Marcos said.

Marcos and Albanese earlier met at the 3rd Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) – Australia during the recently concluded 43rd ASEAN Summit and Related Summits in Jakarta, Indonesia.

“To have friends like you, and partners like you, especially on that subject is very gratifying, encourages us to continue down that path,” Marcos told Albanese in Malacañang.

Albanese said Australia and the Philippines have important security issues with common views on the need to uphold international law.
Albanese assured Marcos that Australia’s position on the issues in the WPS would continue to be consistent.

“We have collective responsibility for security, including support for the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. UNCLOS, that’s very important,” Albanese told Marcos.

“Australia does support, as I said at the East Asia Summit, the 2016 South China Sea arbitral award. That is final and it’s binding and it’s important that that be upheld going forward,”Albanese said.

Albanese paid visit to the Philippines to commemorate the elevation of the Philippines-Australia relations from a Comprehensive Partnership to a Strategic Partnership through the signing of the Joint Declaration on Strategic Partnership.

This is Albanese’s first visit to the country since 2003.