Philippine Exceptionalism: Why AUKUS Matters to Manila in the Age of Great Power Competition

By Richard Heydarian

Over the almost two years since its historic announcement, the AUKUS agreement has elicited a broad range of regional responses. While some countries have welcomed the strategic alignment that AUKUS brings, others share concerns over increased regional instability, the emergence of antagonistic security blocs, and nuclear proliferation.

To guarantee the security that the pact promises, Australia and its fellow AUKUS partners will need to understand the region’s perspectives.

This series is designed to provide insight into regional responses to AUKUS, two years on. It will delve into the concerns, qualms, and avenues for opportunity in seven Indo-Pacific countries, through the eyes of regional authors.

This report by Richard Heydarian, Senior Lecturer at the University of the Philippines, explores the Philippines’ reactions to AUKUS.

As the only member of ASEAN to have openly backed the partnership, the Philippines has welcomed AUKUS as a means of maintaining the balance of power in the Indo-Pacific, and as part of its pivot away from China under President Marcos Jr.

Due to its proximity to both the South China Sea and Taiwan, the Philippines has an acute sense of vulnerability in the face of China’s growing regional assertiveness. As such, it sees expanded cooperation with AUKUS members as a primary means of ensuring future stability in the Indo-Pacific. It is likely to continue to be vocally supportive of the partnership.

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