Duterte thanks Australian PM for backing arbitral ruling vs. ChinaBy VIRGIL LOPEZ,GMA News
President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday thanked Australian Prime Minister Scott Morisson anew for the country's support for the 2016 arbitral ruling which upheld the Philippines' claims over those of China in the West Philippine Sea.
Duterte and Morisson on Monday had a telephone conversation on topics ranging from the status of bilateral relations, COVID-19 pandemic to recent typhoons that battered the Philippines.
“We consider Australia a close partner in upholding international law, including UNCLOS [United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea], and in promoting maritime security,” Duterte said.
In a statement, the Office of the Presidential Assistant on Foreign Affairs said Duterte welcomed Australia’s interest to enhance cooperation with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on maritime security, countering marine plastic debris, counterterrorism, and cybersecurity.
He also welcomed Australia’s support for ASEAN’s COVID-19 response and recovery efforts, citing the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA) as frameworks that could help spur the economic recovery and growth in the region.
The President thanked Australia for its assistance to the victims of typhoons Rolly and Ulysses such as sleeping and hygiene kits.
Morrison, meanwhile, committed to further strengthen Australia-Philippines cooperation and partnership on areas of mutual interest, the Palace said.
Duterte added the Philippines looked forward to the adoption of a Plan of Action to further implement the Joint Declaration of the Philippines-Australia Comprehensive Partnership, which was signed in 2015.
The Philippines and Australia established diplomatic relations in 1946. -NB, GMA News