​PH backs AUKUS submarine deal; says it promotes regional stability

At a glance

  • Photo courtesy of US President Joe Biden's official Twitter account

The Philippines has expressed no objection against the development on the trilateral security pact among Australia, Britain and the United States (AUKUS), particularly when it announced that Canberra will purchase nuclear-powered submarines.

In a statement, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Manila noted the assurances made by the three countries' heads of government that AUKUS will contribute to the preservation of regional peace and stability.

The Philippines is apparently supportive of the deal as Manila, according to DFA, "remains committed to strengthening our existing bilateral security arrangements in the region."

"The Philippines appreciates the efforts of the AUKUS parties to provide information and developments on AUKUS, and in this regard, notes their recent announcement," the agency said.

Against a backdrop of Chinese aggression in the Indo-Pacific, particularly in the South China Sea, the Philippines found it important that partnerships or arrangements, such as AUKUS, support Manila's pursuit of deeper regional cooperation and sustained economic vitality and resilience.

The DFA said they "are essential to our national development and to the security of the region."

Meanwhile, there is a possible quadrilateral military patrol in the South China Sea among the Philippines, the US, Australia and Japan.

"We consider it important for these arrangements to uphold ASEAN's central role in the regional security architecture, and reinforce an international rules-based order that underpins regional security and development," it said.

While officials of AUKUS members said the new deal involving the purchase of submarines is all about contributing to the peace and stability in the region, China criticized the move taken by the three countries.

"The three countries have gone further and further down a wrong and dangerous road for their own selfish political gains, in complete disregard of the concerns of the international community," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin recently said.

The Philippines said AUKUS should cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to ensure that its activities observe the relevant international nuclear safeguards and non-proliferation standards.