Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. will use a rare address to Australia’s parliament on Thursday to outline how the two nations intend to deepen defense and economic ties, against the backdrop of China’s growing military footprint in the region.

Marcos said he will provide "greater detail” in his address on the two nations’ commitments under a newly-struck strategic partnership, and set out his vision for his country. He will be the first Philippine leader to address a joint sitting of parliament in Canberra.

"I intend to serve as a bridge that will further connect the two democratic, maritime nations,” the president said in Manila on Wednesday before leaving for Australia, adding that three agreements are expected to be signed during his trip.