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Australia will present drone tools and coaching to the Philippines coastguard to bolster its capabilities in contested areas of the South China Sea.

Overseas Affairs Minister Penny Wong spoke alongside her Philippine counterpart, Enrique Manalo, in Manila this afternoon after touring the nation’s coastguard headquarters yesterday. She stated the pair mentioned methods to boost their co-operation and enhance the nation’s capability to combat unlawful fishing, management commerce routes and defend its shoreline amid rising tensions within the Indo-Pacific.

Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong is visiting the Philippines this week.

Overseas Affairs Minister Penny Wong is visiting the Philippines this week.Credit score: Alex Ellinghausen

“As our area navigates shifting strategic circumstances, we’re working carefully with one another to form the kind of area we wish – a peaceable, open, steady, affluent area,” she stated.

A landmark choice in The Hague in 2016 dominated towards Beijing’s historic claims to the West Philippines Sea, though Beijing continues to declare the territory its personal as a part of its declare to the South China Sea.

Wong stated the Australian authorities was nonetheless discussing the perfect pathway ahead for joint patrols with the Philippines within the South China Sea, echoing feedback made by Defence Minister Richard Marles on his go to to Manila in February.

Wong is the fourth member of the Australian authorities to go to the Philippines since January, following Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Marles, and Commerce Minister Don Farrell.

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