Australia Philippines Relations: Connecting the Spokes

Summary

This policy brief considers the Comprehensive Partnership between Australia and the Philippines and explores opportunities for both nations to build on the positive trajectory of their relationship in the face of regional geopolitical competition. Key recommendations offered would enhance cooperation between the two nations in four priority issue areas: i) cooperation in an era of strategic competition; ii) regional maritime security; iii) counter- terrorism activities; iv) trade, investment and economic relations.

These recommendations are informed by dialogue among policy-makers, scholars and practitioners at the Philippines-Australia Dialogue, jointly convened by Asia Pacific Pathways to Progress (APPFI) and the Griffith Asia Institute (GAI) in Manila on 18-19 July 2019. Overall, findings indicate that deeper cooperation between Canberra and Manila can be achieved within the framework of the existing partnership, and that opportunities exist for both nations to further engage Washington and other like-minded partners to advance an inclusive regional order. Timing is of the essence. Positive sentiment, particularly in the post-Marawi era will enable deeper bilateral engagement in priority areas, although if not seized quickly the opportunity may pass.

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About the Authors

Dr Lucy West is a senior research assistant at the Griffith Asia Institute and lecturer in the School of Government and International Relations. 

Mark Bryan Manantan is a Research Affiliate at the Asia Pacific Pathways to Progress, a visiting fellow at the National Chengchi University, and a Young Leader’s Fellow at the Pacific Forum.