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Ministers from Japan and France will meet to discuss expanding Indo-Pacific cooperation

FILE PHOTO: Liberal Democratic Party's (LDP) Lawmaker and a former cabinet minister Yoshimasa Hayashi speaks during an interview with Reuters during a Thomson Reuters Breakingviews event in Tokyo, Japan, January 26, 2016. REUTERS/Yuya Shino

Foreign and defence ministers of Japan and France will meet on Thursday to discuss expanding security cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, according to Japanese authorities, as the region grapples with China’s growing military might and North Korea’s missile development.

FILE PHOTO: French Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian speaks at a news conference following a meeting with NATO’s Secretary General and the French defence minster in Paris, France December 10, 2021. Bertrand Guay/Pool via REUTERS

The news: Through video conferencing, Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi and Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi will meet with their French counterparts Jean-Yves Le Drian and Florence Parly.

  • France has overseas territories and military bases in the Indo-Pacific, where tensions over Taiwan have been building as China strives to impose its sovereignty over the island, and North Korea has conducted an unusually rapid series of missile launches.
  • During a press conference a foreign ministry official said both countries are maritime nations and Indo-Pacific nations. It is very important to promote cooperation between France and Japan to realise a free and open Indo-Pacific.
  • In recent years, the frequency of joint military training between the two countries has increased.

What they’re saying: “We would like to reach an agreement on deeper defence cooperation. We also hope an agreement will be reached among the ministers to deepen cooperation in new domains such as space and cyber,” a defence ministry official said at the same briefing.

What’s going on: Japan and France have already signed a number of important security agreements, including one on the transfer of defence equipment and technology.

  • The bilateral talks come ahead of a series of security-related meetings involving regional leaders, including a virtual summit between U.S. President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Friday and consultations between Australia and the United Kingdom’s foreign and defence ministers on Saturday.
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