The head of Australia’s overseas intelligence agency has been snapped posing with a clenched fist beside president of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte.
Nick Warner, director-general of the Australian Secret Intelligence Service, held talks with the leader at Malacanang Palace in Manila on Tuesday.
The president’s office released video of the meeting, with separate photos showing the pair talking and making Mr Duterte’s signature hand gesture.
President Duterte meets with Australian Secret Intelligence Service Director General Nick Warner in Malacañang pic.twitter长沙桑拿按摩论坛,/3u1sLFUEgb
— Pia Gutierrez (@pia_gutierrez) August 22, 2017
A spokeswoman for Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop told AAP the director-general meets with leaders and ministers of regional countries regularly “to advance co-operation in information sharing to counter terrorism”.
According to a palace official, it was “basically a courtesy call” that “touched on regional security issues and declaration of mutual support”.
It comes just a week after the federal government moved to formally list Islamic State in East Asia as a terrorist organisation, with the group responsible for numerous terrorist attacks in the Philippines.
Attorney-General George Brandis said IS was using the conflict in Marawi as a “call to arms”, with foreign fighters believed to be actively fighting against Philippine security forces.
“Only last week, ISIL released a propaganda video of Australian-accented extremist Abu Adam Al-Australi urging fighters to go to join the conflict in Mindanao,” he told parliament last Wednesday.
The head of the domestic intelligence agency ASIO, Duncan Lewis, has previously said one of the greatest terrorist threats to Australians is in South East Asia.
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