France assures interest in peace, stability in Indo-Pacific region amid territorial dispute

Published December 2, 2021, 2:59 PM

by Aaron Recuenco 

The French government has assured its interest on the peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region amid the continuous tension in the South China Sea involving the Philippines, the recent incident was last month at the Ayungin Shoal.

In a statement, the Department of National Defense (DND) said it was the assurance made by Bertrand Lortholary, Director for Asia and Oceania, Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs of France, during his meeting with Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.

photo: DND

“Director Lortholary’s brief visit to Manila is part of his working tour in Southeast Asia. He underscored that Africa and the Indo-Pacific are France’s priorities under its upcoming presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU) in 2022.,” the statement read.

“He also expressed France’s continuing interest of the peace and stability of the Indo-Pacific region,” it added.

Lortholary was accompanied by French Embassy officials led by Ambassador Michèle Boccoz during his meeting with Lorenzana.

For his part, Lorenzana reiterated that the Philippines will continue engaging other claimant states through peaceful and diplomatic means in the West Philippine Sea side of the South China Sea.

The Philippines is engaged in a territorial dispute with enighboring countries in the South China Sea, with experts saying that China is the more assertive despite the UN Tribunal ruling that invalidates its nine-dash line as the basis of its claims in almost the entire South China Sea.

Last month, Chinese Coast guard allegedly water-cannoned the Philippines supply ships for its troops stationed at the Ayungin Shoal.