France, Japan back free navigation in Asia-Pacific, Abe says

French President Francois Hollande and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attend a joint declaration at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, March 20, 2017. REUTERS/Philippe Wojaze

France and Japan support a “free and open maritime order” in the Asia-Pacific region, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said after talks with French President Francois Hollande on Monday.

The message seemed aimed at China, which claims almost all the South China Sea and which has fueled concern in Japan and the West with its growing military presence in the waterway.

“Francois and I agreed on the importance of ensuring a free and open maritime order in the Indo-Pacific region (and) of continuing to support the stability and prosperity of this region,” Abe told reporters after the talks.

Japan plans to dispatch its largest warship on a three-month tour through the South China Sea beginning in May, three sources said last week, in its biggest show of naval force in the region since World War Two. China pledged a firm response if Japan stirred up trouble in the South China Sea.

Abe underlined the importance of separate naval exercises involving personnel or equipment from Japan, France, Britain and the United States to be held around Tinian island in the western Pacific in May.

Hollande said France reaffirmed its support for an increased Japanese peace-keeping role and said the two countries would work together to improve the ability of their forces to cooperate.

He assured Abe of France’s support after North Korea this month fired four ballistic missiles into the sea off Japan’s northwest coast. He also denounced the development of North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic programs, which he said violated all its international obligations.

Reflecting concerns over rising protectionist sentiment in the United States and elsewhere, Abe said Japan and France wanted to continue to be “champions of free trade” and said an agreement on a free-trade pact with the European Union would send an important message.

Hollande also voiced support for the proposed EU-Japan trade accord which is being negotiated.

France and Japan also signed an agreement on reinforced cooperation on nuclear energy.

Two Japanese firms, Japan Nuclear Fuel Limited and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, agreed in February to buy a combined 10 percent stake in a new company being split off from Areva for 500 million euros ($537 million), helping a state-backed rescue of the French nuclear group.

Abe earlier met German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Hanover.

($1 = 0.9308 euros)

(Reporting by Bate Felix and Adrian Croft, editing by larry King)

 

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This entry was posted in Biển Đông (SCS), Freedom of navigation and tagged , , , , by Trần Đình Hoành. Bookmark the permalink.

About Trần Đình Hoành

I am an attorney in the Washington DC area, with a Doctor of Law in the US, attended the master program at the National School of Administration of Việt Nam, and graduated from Sài Gòn University Law School. I aso studied philosophy at the School of Letters in Sài Gòn. I have worked as an anti-trust attorney for Federal Trade Commission and a litigator for a fortune-100 telecom company in Washington DC. I have taught law courses for legal professionals in Việt Nam and still counsel VN government agencies on legal matters. I have founded and managed businesses for me and my family, both law and non-law. I have published many articles on national newspapers and radio stations in Việt Nam. In 1989 I was one of the founding members of US-VN Trade Council, working to re-establish US-VN relationship. Since the early 90's, I have established and managed VNFORUM and VNBIZ forum on VN-related matters; these forums are the subject of a PhD thesis by Dr. Caroline Valverde at UC-Berkeley and her book Transnationalizing Viet Nam. I translate poetry and my translation of "A Request at Đồng Lộc Cemetery" is now engraved on a stone memorial at Đồng Lộc National Shrine in VN. I study and teach the Bible and Buddhism. In 2009 I founded and still manage dotchuoinon.com on positive thinking and two other blogs on Buddhism. In 2015 a group of friends and I founded website CVD - Conversations on Vietnam Development (cvdvn.net). I study the art of leadership with many friends who are religious, business and government leaders from many countries. In October 2011 Phu Nu Publishing House in Hanoi published my book "Positive Thinking to Change Your Life", in Vietnamese (TƯ DUY TÍCH CỰC Thay Đổi Cuộc Sống). In December 2013 Phu Nu Publishing House published my book "10 Core Values for Success". I practice Jiu Jitsu and Tai Chi for health, and play guitar as a hobby, usually accompanying my wife Trần Lê Túy Phượng, aka singer Linh Phượng.

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