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Increased maritime security will be provided by Australia, along with drones.

According to Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong, Australia is willing to offer the Philippines drones, technical training, and other tools to enhance maritime domain awareness operations in its waters.

Wong made the remarks while announcing a series of proposals for marine cooperation between the two nations during their private meeting in Makati City with Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo.

“We discussed today ways in which we will enhance our cooperation, (and) this includes Australia providing drone equipment, training, and other technology to strengthen your Coast Guard in maritime domain awareness and protection capabilities,” she said at a press briefing.

According to Wong, Canberra has a “strategic partnership” with Manila and views it as a “important security partner” in the region.

Along with providing technical support, Australia also made itself available to potential trilateral alliances with the Philippines and other like-minded countries for combined patrols in the context of the South China Sea’s evolving security situation.

Wong stated that the “best pathway to take this forward” is being discussed by the Australian Foreign Ministry and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

She added, “We are open to cooperating with all our allies to exercise freedom of navigation and overflight. We are dedicated to maintaining Australia’s long-standing presence in the region, especially in the West Philippine and South China Sea.

Manalo said that Manila is considering “several trilateral modes of cooperation.”

“We look forward to exploring potential forms of cooperation with Australia, our other partner Japan, and potentially even with the United States. We intend to move these conversations ahead very shortly,” he said.

The DFA said in a second statement that the two officials concurred on the significance of establishing a region that is open, secure, and affluent, where governments act by set rules and standards, and where sovereignty is respected.

The two applauded the Quad’s commitment to a region based on norms and characterized by peace and stability, with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations at its core.

Australia, India, Japan, and the US governments engage in a strategic security consultation known as Quad, or the Quadrilateral Security consultation.

The ongoing open discussion of AUKUS (Australia, UK, US), particularly about its goal to advance peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific area, is something that both authorities look forward to.

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