Australia has agreed to strengthen its maritime cooperation with the Philippines in terms of adhering to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and affirming the country’s position that was upheld by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague last July 2016.
During their second maritime dialogue held on June 1 to 3, the Philippines and Australia agreed to boost ties in maritime issues, including in fisheries, maritime domain awareness, marine environmental protection, defense, and marine science.
“Maritime legal issues, especially in the South China Sea, were also discussed, with both sides focused on strengthening cooperation in affirming the primacy of the UNCLOS principles and the 2016 Award on the South China Sea Arbitration in multilateral fora and through legal diplomacy,” the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said.
Both countries exchanged views on the impact of strategic trends in the Indo-Pacific region, particularly in the context of the recently-concluded domestic elections on both sides.
They also talked about engagements with partners such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the United States, and European countries, among others.
Both sides also agreed on the importance of strengthening the academic network in the region as another avenue for facilitating cooperative activities.
They emphasized the importance of the Track 1.5 component of the Dialogue led by the University of the Philippines Institute of Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea and La Trobe University.
Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary for Maritime and Ocean Affairs Maria Angela Ponce led the Philippine delegation while Acting First Assistant Secretary Justin Whyatt of the US and Indo-Pacific Strategy Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade led the Australian delegation.
Representatives from the security, fisheries, defense, and law enforcement agencies of both countries were also part of the delegations.
The Philippines will host the third Maritime Dialogue in Manila next year.