Philippines and Australia Commit to Vigorous Defense and Security Cooperation at 5th Philippines-Australia Strategic Dialogue
01 December 2020
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Undersecretary of National Defense Cardozo M. Luna and Ambassador Elizabeth P. Buensuceso, DFA OIC-Undersecretary for Policy, led the Philippine delegation during the 5th PhilippinesAustralia Strategic Dialogue (PASD) via video teleconference held on November 26, 2020.

     MANILA, 26 November 2020 - Philippine and Australian foreign and defense officials convened today the 5th Philippines-Australia Strategic Dialogue (PASD) via video teleconference.

     Last held in 2017, the PASD is the principal mechanism for dialogue between the two countries on strategic priorities and issues of shared mutual import in the defense and security arena.

     Ambassador Elizabeth P. Buensuceso, DFA OIC-Undersecretary for Policy, and DND Undersecretary Cardozo M. Luna led the Philippine delegation. Leading the Australian side, meanwhile, were Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) Deputy Secretary for Indo-Pacific Group Justin Hayhurst and Department of Defence Deputy Secretary for Strategy, Policy and Industry Group Peter Tesch.

     Also joining the Dialogue remotely were Philippine Ambassador to Australia Ma. Hellen Barber De La Vega and Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Steven J. Robinson, AO, as well as foreign and defense ministry officials on both sides.

     The two sides exchanged views on the evolving regional political and security situation, and discussed threats both traditional and emerging, factoring in the complications arising from COVID-19 and the new normal.

     They also shared updates on their respective overall defense policies and priorities, and took stock of progress in key facets of the Philippines-Australia security relationship and cooperation, particularly in exercises and training, capacity-building, countering terrorism and violent extremism, cybersecurity and law enforcement cooperation, among others. The meeting also discussed the furtherance of advancing cooperation within the context of larger regional frameworks, with ASEAN-led mechanisms as an important driver.

     Both sides expressed anticipation for the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the Philippines and Australia in 2021, and acknowledged the vital role of sustained and elevated bilateral security cooperation in the future of PhilippineAustralian engagement.