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Phl-France discuss bilateral defense relations

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(In photo from left, French Ambassador to the Philippines Her Excellency Marie Fontanel, French Minister for Armed Forces Sébastien Lecornu, Philippines’ Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro Senior Undersecretary of the Department of National Defense (DND) Irineo C. Espino. Photo from Press, Information, and Communication Service of Embassy of France to the Philippines)

By Monsi A. Serrano

The landmark visit of French Minister for Armed Forces Sébastien Lecornu to the Philippines and his meeting with Philippines’ Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro today marks another milestone and a reaffirmation of the 76 years of true friendship between France and the Philippines,

During the meeting, the two officials discussed the current regional security issues in the Indo-Pacific, the Middle East / Southeast Asia, and Europe, underscoring the rules-based international order and calling for the peaceful resolution of disputes.

(French Minister for Armed Forces Sébastien Lecornu to the Philippines and his meeting with Philippines’ Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro reaffirmed the Philippines-France commitment to work for a stronger long-term partnership in the maritime, land, aerial, and information domains.)

France has been very consistent with the security and defense interests of the Philippines and the French Indo-Pacific Strategy, and underscored their shared positions supporting a free, open, inclusive and stable Indo-Pacific. In the issue on the West Philippine Sea / the South China Sea, both sides expressed adherence to the spirit and provisions of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the primacy thereof, and recalled the 2016 Arbitral Award on the South China Sea.

Both ministers welcomed the positive trajectory of Philippines-France defense and military cooperation, demonstrated by the regular convening of the bilateral defense dialogues, visits by defense and armed forces delegations, continuous educational exchanges, port visits, as well as naval and disaster response training activities.

They also reaffirmed their determination to work for a stronger long-term partnership in the maritime, land, aerial, and information domains. Along this line, they renewed their commitment to deepen the bilateral defense relations between the Philippines and France through the signing of a Letter of Intent wherein both sides express the willingness to raise the level of interaction and to consolidate their exchanges through practical cooperation. This includes strengthening the legal framework of the bilateral defense relationship, by initiating discussions on defense agreements, including the consideration of a status of visiting forces agreement, enhancing defense and military activities, including capability development and joint defense industry cooperation.

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