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International relations

Australia, Philippines beef up ties amid South China Sea tensions

Annual defense minister meeting planned as Prime Minister Albanese visits Manila

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, right, and Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., left, appear at the Malacanang Palace in Manila on Sept. 8.   © Getty Images

JAKARTA -- Australia and the Philippines announced a beefed-up strategic partnership Friday as Canberra backs growing opposition to Beijing's claims over the South China Sea.

The agreement came as Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese made an offical trip to Manila, part of a three-nation tour, which marked the first by an Australian leader in 20 years. It focused on cooperation in security, education and tackling the climate crisis.

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