PH welcomes AUKUS security pact amid push for regional peace

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 16) The Philippine government welcomed the trilateral security deal among Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States as it underscored the importance of deeper cooperation to achieve peace in the Indo-Pacific.

In a statement on Thursday, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) noted the recent announcements about the pact dubbed "AUKUS" — including assurances of its contributions for regional stability.

The three powerhouse nations earlier bared more details and timelines for their nuclear submarine program.

"The Philippines appreciates the efforts of the AUKUS parties to provide information and developments," the DFA said.

"It is important that partnerships or arrangements in the Indo Pacific region, such as AUKUS, support our pursuit of deeper regional cooperation and sustained economic vitality and resilience, which are essential to our national development and to the security of the region," it added.

The agency also said such agreements should uphold the "central role" of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations with regards to the security architecture in the region.

First announced in 2021, the AUKUS aims to strengthen defense collaboration in the Indo-Pacific through various initiatives like deeper information and technology sharing.

Earlier this week, AUKUS officials said Australia will be acquiring a number of nuclear-powered submarines from the US in the next couple of years — a move some experts view as a bid to counter China's military plans in the region.

READ: Australia, the UK and US are joining forces in the Pacific, but will nuclear subs arrive quick enough to counter China?

Meanwhile, the DFA said AUKUS should also cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency to "ensure that its activities observe the relevant international nuclear safeguards and standards."