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Australia wants to patrol the South China Sea with the Philippines jointly.

The South China Sea joint patrols and further military drills with the Philippines are on Australia’s to-do list, according to Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Richard Marles on Wednesday.

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Following his meeting with DND officer-in-charge Senior Undersecretary Carlito Galvez Jr., Marles stated during the joint press conference held at the Department of National Defense headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City, “(We) are looking at ways in which we can pursue joint patrols together in the South China Sea, and looking at ways in which we can do more exercises together.”

Regarding the implementation of this idea, no further information was provided.

According to Marles, Australia will send one of its largest contingents ever to this year’s “Exercise Balikatan,” which will take place in April, in light of this development.

And he continued, “We anticipate the Philippines deploying observers to Exercise Talisman Sabre in Australia in August for the first time.

All of these interactions, according to Marles, point to a strengthening of the two countries already-solid relations.

“All of these point to a growing partnership that is based on a solid basis at both the governmental and popular levels. And we’re quite optimistic about the direction this relationship will take “Added he.

Marles added that the Philippines would play a “very central” role in their upcoming Indo-Pacific Endeavor, Australia’s naval regional flagship operation.

In the upcoming months, he continued, “We look forward to a visit here as part of the Indo-Pacific Endeavor.”

Marles added that Australia and the Philippines are more strategically aligned than at any other time in their own histories.

“China is the greatest trading partner of both nations, which are both allies of the United States. The Philippines and Australia are both wholly dedicated to a world order based on rules, “Said he.

This statement, according to Marles, is “directly tied to the two nations’ respective national interests that the UN (United Nations) Convention of the Law of the Sea, the freedom of navigation, and the freedom of overflight” be applied to a body of water like the South China Sea.

All of these concepts are fundamental to both our collective security and national interests, he continued.

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