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ASPI Webinar: The changing nature of Philippines-US defence relations

Speakers John Coyne, Huong Le Thu, Dr Jingdong Yuan, Dr Malcolm Cook and John Powers

ASPI is delighted to invite you to the webinar discussion: 'The changing nature of Philippines-US defence relations'

On 11th February this year, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte announced the unilateral decision to terminate the US government’s Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the Philippines which was established in 1998. The agreement has provided the legal framework for the US military and its equipment to be deployed to, maintained in and operated from the Philippines. This decision generated much controversy and questioned some core principles of the US-Philippines alliance. If materialised, it would have a larger regional implication for the wider Southeast Asia and strategic contingencies in the South China Sea.

On 1st June however, with no warning, the Philippines Department of Foreign Affairs wrote to the US Embassy stating that ‘in light of political and other developments in the region’ the termination was suspended. While nothing is certain beyond the suggested 6 months suspension of the Philippine withdrawal, it underlines how the Duterte administration's relationships with both the US and China are unpredictable.

Join ASPI's Dr Huong Le Thu for a discussion with Dr Jingdong Yuan, Associate Professor at the University of SydneyDr Malcolm Cook, Visiting Senior Fellow at the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute and John Powers, Executive Director of Intel Dynamics, moderated by ASPI’s Dr John Coyne.

The webinar will explore the reasons for and possible impacts of Duterte’s defence policies, including the approach to the VFA, and consider whether it could generate geopolitical and economic opportunities for Australia.

Click here to register for the webinar.


John Coyne

Dr John Coyne is Head of the Northern Australia Strategic Policy Centre and Head of Strategic Policing and Law Enforcement at ASPI.

Huong Le Thu

Dr Huong Le Thu was a senior analyst at ASPI, Defence and Strategy Program.

Dr Jingdong Yuan

Dr Jingdong Yuan is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Government and International Relations, University of Sydney.

Dr Malcolm Cook

Malcolm Cook is a Visiting Senior Fellow at the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute in Singapore and a Visiting Fellow at the National Security College in Canberra.

John Powers

John Powers is the Executive Director of Intel Dynamics, a global firm based in Canberra, which specialises in behavioural and information economics to advance organisational capa