The Hon Julie Bishop MP: I will visit Thailand and the Philippines from 2 to 8 August to strengthen bilateral relations and advance Australia’s economic and security interests in the region.

Thailand is our eighth largest trading partner and this year we celebrate our 65th anniversary of diplomatic relations. In Bangkok, I will meet Thai Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai, as well as other senior ministers and political leaders to discuss strengthening our engagement on political, economic and security issues. I will also reiterate Australia’s support for Thailand’s return to democracy.

I will formally open Australia’s new embassy in Bangkok, one of the largest posts in our diplomatic network, and our Consulate-General in Phuket which was established as part of the single largest expansion of our diplomatic network in more than 40 years. Each year approximately 900,000 Australians travel to Thailand, with one-third of those visiting Phuket.

This will be my second visit to the Philippines this year. In Manila, I will attend the East Asia Summit (EAS) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, the ASEAN-Australia Ministerial Meeting and the ASEAN Regional Forum, in ASEAN’s 50th anniversary year, demonstrating our strong support for ASEAN’s contribution to promoting peace and prosperity in our region.

The EAS and ASEAN meetings will focus on key regional challenges, including the South China Sea, the Korean Peninsula and terrorism. As co-chair of the ASEAN-Australia Ministerial Meeting, I will lead discussion on the historic ASEAN-Australia Special Summit, to be held in Sydney in March 2018.

In Manila, I will also meet Philippines Foreign Secretary Alan Cayetano, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon and civil society organisations to discuss our support for the peace process, the response to the situation in Marawi and counter-terrorism cooperation.