By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora

Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong (Photo courtesy of Australia Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

MANILA – Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong will discuss with her Filipino counterpart, Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo, the two nations’ growing defense and security partnership, as well as other areas of cooperation, during her official visit to the Philippines next week.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Friday Wong would be in Manila from May 16 to 19 at the invitation of Manalo.

Manalo will meet with Wong on May 18 and discuss a broad range of issues of mutual interest, including development cooperation, trade and investment, and people-to-people ties.

“This bilateral meeting will allow both countries to assess the current state of their bilateral relations and chart the course for further collaboration,” the DFA said.

Wong will also pay a courtesy call on President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. and Vice President Sara Z. Duterte.

The Australian official’s Manila trip follows a series of high-level exchanges between the Philippines and Australia as both have sought to upgrade their comprehensive partnership to a “higher level.”

“This visit is also an excellent opportunity to renew and deepen the friendship between the two nations and explore new areas of cooperation,” the DFA said.

This will be Wong’s first visit to the country since assuming office in May 2022 after the election of Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s Labor Government. (PNA)