Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Aquino: Philippines has asked Australia to be strategic security partner after US, Japan

The Philippines has asked Australia to be its third strategic security partner after the United States and Japan.

This developed a week before Aquino is set to pay state visits to Australia and New Zealand next week. Canberra is still studying the proposal.

Even without the strategic partnership, Australia is already helping the Philippines with the Coast Watch System, the President said in an interview with members of the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines on Wednesday.

"There are various trainings being conducted by their military security forces with our own personnel in the form of scholarships," he said. "We face the same challenges be it terrorism, global climate change, or relationships with the superpower in the neighborhood."

Aquino will pay state visits from October 22 to 26 upon the invitation of New Zealand Prime Minister John Key and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

In New Zealand, Aquino will proceed to Auckland where he will meet with the Filipino community and deliver a speech in a forum hosted by the Philippines-New Zealand Business Council.

He will also have meetings with several New Zealand companies for possible investments in the Philippines.

Aquino will go to Wellington to meet with Key and Governor-General Jerry Mateparae, where they are expected to discuss bilateral concerns, including the recently signed framework agreement between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

From New Zealand, the President will fly to Australia to meet Gillard and Governor-General Quentin Bryce in Canberra.

Aquino's last stop will be in Sydney where he is scheduled to deliver a keynote address at the Philippines-Australia Business Forum as well as address The Asia Society of Australia.

The President will also meet with representatives of Australian business groups.

He will unveil a statue of Dr. Jose Rizal in Campbelltown in Sydney as well as meet with members of the Filipino community in Australia.

The President will be accompanied by Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, and other Cabinet secretaries who will also be meeting with their counterparts.-Black Pearl (October 7, 2012 7:06PM)

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