Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr to attend ASEAN-Australia Special Summit on March 4-6

2024 February 27

MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. will participate in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-Australia Special Summit in Melbourne from March 4 to 6, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Tuesday.

Marcos will attend the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit upon the invitation of Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, DFA Assistant Secretary for ASEAN Affairs Daniel Espiritu said in a pre-departure briefing with Palace reporters. 

“The summit presents an opportunity for us to present the Philippines’ core position on regional and international issues and set the tone for dialogue partners’ summit later in the year, especially in October,” Espiritu said.

Espiritu said Marcos is expected to attend the Leaders’ Plenary and the Leaders’ Retreat, the two main engagements on the ASEAN-Australia Summit Proper on March 6.

During his participation in the Leaders’ Plenary, Marcos would take the opportunity to thank Australia for its unwavering support for the rule of law, the 1982 United Nations Conventions on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and the 2016 Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) ruling on the South China Sea (SCS).

“The President may also highlight ASEAN-Australia cooperation on maritime issues, climate and clean energy track, people-to-people exchange, and economic cooperation,” Espiritu said.

Espiritu added that Marcos, during the Leaders’ Retreat, is expected to encourage Australia to remain committed to the peaceful resolution of disputes, as well as to maintain respect for the rules-based international order and multilateralism, considering that these are “currently very much under challenge”.

DFA spokesperson Ma. Teresita Daza said the SCS issue will be raised, given that the Philippines has “strong” defense and security relations with Australia.

“In terms of what’s happening in the region and what is happening within our region, one issue will be the South China Sea. And it’s also worth mentioning that Australia and the Philippines are maritime nations and it cannot be denied that it will be something that will have to be raised as well,” Daza said.

Other engagements

Marcos would also hold separate meetings with other world leaders, Australian business leaders, and the Filipino community in Melbourne on the sidelines of the ASEAN-Australian Special Summit, Espiritu said.

Espiritu said Marcos is expected to have separate bilateral meetings with Cambodia and New Zealand. He, however, did not elaborate on the matter.

Marcos, he said, would also deliver a keynote speech at the Lowy Institute on March 4 to highlight the Philippines’ role as “an active participant in world affairs and a contributor to the rules-based regional security architecture.”

Also on March 4, Marcos will meet with his fellow Filipinos at Melbourne’s town hall.

Marcos would also deliver remarks during the launch of the Victoria International Container Terminal, the first-fully automated container terminal of Australia, on March 5.

Espiritu said there would also be a Philippine Business Forum in Melbourne to promote the country’s business climate and entice more investments.

Marcos’ scheduled attendance to ASEAN-Australia Special Summit in Melbourne will be the second leg of his visit to Australia.

He will first visit Canberra on Feb. 28 to 29 to serve as “guest of the Australian government” and address the Australian Parliament to discuss the vision for the Philippines and Australia’s strategic partnership.

Daza said Marcos will return to the Philippines after his visit to Canberra and will fly back to Australia for the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit.