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Australia seeks continued ties with Philippines

Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop (www.theaustralian.com.au)
Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop (www.theaustralian.com.au)

The Australian government has finally congratulated presumptive President-elect Rodrigo Duterte despite his earlier warning that he would sever the Philippines’ ties with the giant nation.

On Friday, Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop said she looks forward to continue working with the new administration in Manila to further develop the countries’ bilateral relationship and to address shared regional and global challenges.

“Our countries share similar values and interests, including a commitment to democracy, and a determination to work for peace, security and economic growth,” she said in a statement, which Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Amanda Gorely also shared on her Twitter account.

Bishop noted that the Philippines and Australia have signed a Comprehensive Partnership that aims to deepen cooperation to advance mutual interests in trade, development and regional security.

“Australia and the Philippines have strong and close people-to-people links; there are more than 250,000 Filipino Australians who call Australia home making a positive contribution to our multicultural society and approximately 10,000 Filipino students study at Australian universities. Since its inception 105 Australian students have studied in the Philippines under the New Colombo Plan,” said Bishop.

The Philippines and Australia are currently celebrating its 70th year of bilateral relationship that has grown stronger over what Bishop described as “share[d] similar values and interests” such as commitment to democracy, and a determination to work for peace, security and economic growth.

“Australia will work with the new Philippines Government on alignment of our economic partnership to support continued economic, governance and social reforms that are important to inclusive economic growth. We anticipate that the gains of recent years can be sustained and built upon,” she said.

During the campaign period, Australia earned the ire of Duterte after Gorely and Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade condemned his remark on the rape and death of Australian missionary Jacqueline Hamill during the 1989 jail riot in Davao City. (MJD)

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