Australia says PH to play key role in maritime exercises
MANILA – Manila will play a huge role in this year’s Indo-Pacific Endeavor amid continuing tensions in the West Philippine Sea, the Australian Ambassador to the Philippines said Tuesday.
The program is an annual regional engagement activity organized by the Australian Defense Force meant to show its commitment to working with regional partners to ensure a secure Indo-Pacific through maritime exercises.
The Indo-Pacific Endeavor will take place in August 2023.
“This year’s Indo-Pacific Endeavor is going to be, probably one of the biggest we’ve ever done, with the Philippines right at the center of it,” said Australian Ambassador to the Philippines HK Yu.
“And as part of that, we’re actually running an exercise called Alon…that is going to be an amphibious exercise including the Philippines, and most likely the US as well and Australia,” she added.
Australia has pledged to beef up its assistance to the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) by providing drone equipment, training, and technology, said Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong during her visit to the Philippines earlier in May.
Aside from maritime cooperation, Australia has also increased its Official Development Assistance (ODA) for several initiatives, including the Mindanao peace process.
Yu said it is Australia’s interest to work towards a stable, peaceful Indo-Pacific Region.
“We wall want to create the region that we live in, which is prosperous, peaceful, and stable," she said.
"Of course we’re going to be active in what’s happening in the region because it’s in Australia’s interest. And we want to be a strong partner to the Philippines in creating the region we both want to live in—where sovereignty is respected, and international law guides what happens in the region."
--ANC, 30 May 2023