Japan, France to set up framework for maritime issue amid China's rise
PARIS (Kyodo) -- Japan and France agreed Saturday to establish a new framework designed to discuss maritime issues and strengthen coordination, Japan's Foreign Ministry said.
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Foreign Minister Taro Kono and his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian reached agreement on the laun ch amid China's growing influence at sea. The ministers confirmed they will work closely to ensure the rule of law in the Indo-Pacific region.
Japan has been promoting a "free and open" Indo-Pacific region and France, which has New Caledonia as its territory in the Pacific, also places importance on maritime security.
"Free and open seas are the foundation for the peace and prosperity of not only Japan and France but also the international community. We see potential for cooperation with France in many respects," Kono told reporters.
Kono and Le Drian also discussed North Korea and agreed on the importance of keeping U.N. sanctions in place to urge Pyongyang to dismantle all nuclear weapons and missiles in a complete, verifiable, and irreversible way, according to the ministry.
Kono visited France following the cancellation of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's trip in the aftermath of the recent torr ential rains that hit western Japan.
On Friday, Japan and France signed an acquisition and cross-servicing agreement that enables the two countries' defense and armed forces to provide items such as food, fuel and ammunition to each other.
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