Australia PM Albanese to visit Philippines with focus on maritime security

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said he would travel to the Philippines in September to discuss defence and security cooperation, the first Australian leader to visit in 20 years.

Albanese will meet President Ferdinand Marcos Jr on September 8 to discuss strengthening cooperation on defence, maritime security and development, his office said in a statement on Friday.  

“Our partnership with the Philippines is built on close defence and security cooperation, increasing economic relations and warm personal ties,” Albanese said.

The Philippines and Australia discussed pursuing joint patrols in the South China Sea during a visit by Australia’s Defence Minister Richard Marles in February.

Albanese will also travel in September to the ASEAN-Australia Summit in Jakarta, and the G20 Leaders Summit in New Delhi, the statement added.

(Reporting by Kirsty Needham; editing by Christina Fincher)