Officials are currently assessing the impact of the trilateral security agreement of Australia, United Kingdom, and United States (AUKUS) on the Philippines.
“We continuously assess this agreement and welcome efforts made by the countries concerned to explain it further,” Foreign Affairs Acting Undersecretary Ma. Theresa Lazaro said, in a recent meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Lazaro, who is also the country’s senior officials’ meeting leader to ASEAN, shared the statement made by Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin on the enhanced trilateral security partnership, saying Manila sees value in the enhancement of a neighbor’s capability to project power.
“The Philippines believes it will restore and keep the balance in the region, rather than destabilize it,” the official said.
The first initiative under the AUKUS agreement is to support Australia in acquiring nuclear-powered submarines.
Lazaro stressed that the Philippines continues to uphold the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone (SEANWFZ) Treaty as an important instrument to maintain peace and stability in the region.
“We welcome assurances made by one of our partners that its actions will support the SEANWFZ Treaty and that it will abide by its commitments under the Non-Proliferation Treaty,” Lazaro said.
The DFA official also reiterated the call for the swift and complete implementation of the five-point consensus in a bid to address the situation in Myanmar.
The five-point consensus came out of the ASEAN Leaders’ Meeting held in April 2021 which includes efforts in ending the violence in Myanmar; the facilitation of constructive dialogue with the National Unity Government and other parties; the deployment of an ASEAN special envoy; the facilitation of humanitarian aid; and a visit by the ASEAN delegation to Myanmar to assess the situation.
Lazaro also said that Special Envoy of the ASEAN Chair Dato Erywan Pehin Yusof “must be accorded unhindered access to all parties concerned, in the spirit of constructive dialogue.”