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France will bolster its presence in South Pacific says Lecornu

Monday 13 June 2022 | Written by RNZ | Published in Pacific Islands, Regional

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France will bolster its presence in South Pacific says Lecornu
The French defence minister Sebastien Lecornu Photo: AFP or licensors

The French defence minister Sebastien Lecornu says France will bolster its presence in the South Pacific while being committed to a multilateral approach that respects everyone's sovereignty.

Speaking at a security summit in Singapore, Mr Lecornu said France does not seek to rally one camp or another but chooses respect for the law as the only option to guarantee security and peace.

France has three territories in the South Pacific, two of which are on the UN decolonisation list.

Lecornu said the French strategy in the region is not directed against any state but supports multilateral defence arrangements, with French forces continuing to participate in multilateral exercises.

He said two new patrol boats will be deployed this year, one in New Caledonia and one in French Polynesia for what he describes as surveillance and sovereignty missions.

Mr Lecornu also said this year an exercise will be held involving Rafale fighter jets and A400 transport planes.

He said the challenges posed by geopolitical rivalries in a multipolar region can only be the subject of an inclusive and multilateral response based on respect for the law.

Mr Lecornu adds that the problems of the Indo-Pacific area are also the problems of Europe and vice versa.