FAR EAST CORRESPONDENT — At first glance Australia and The Philippines are distant neighbors with similar trade dominated interests in the Pacific but their relationship could hardly be described as close. Nevertheless they both stand as long-term allies of the United States and that carries its own responsibilities.
Earlier this week, The Philippines senate, amid heightened territorial conflicts with China, ratified an accord after four years of considerations that would allow Australian soldiers to train with the Filipino military inside the country.
Supporters say the agreement will bolster defense in The Philippines which has struggled against a show of military muscle by China around the resource-rich disputed islands in the seas and international shipping lanes which divide The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and China.
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