France calls for rule of law preservation, freedom of navigation in Indo-Pacific

France has expressed its commitment to preserve the rule of law, the freedom of navigation and overflight and other multilateral orders as it sees the need to strengthen the sovereignty of its international partners in the Indo-Pacific region, including the Philippines.

French Ambassador to the Philippines Michèle Boccoz made the assurance after the French government supported an international symposium that aimed to revolutionize the Philippine defense posture with France in the Indo-Pacific region.

"We will continue to stress respect of rule of law, respect of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas, and many other tools," Boccoz said in her opening remark.

Speaking on the French Indo-Pacific Strategy, Capt. Ludovic Poitou, Deputy Director for International Security Affairs and Maritime Security Coordinator of the French Ministry for Armed Forces, said the French strategy in the region is not aimed at one specific state.

Instead, Poitou said the challenges induced in the geopolitical rivalry in the multipolar region "require an inclusive and collective yet robust response."

"To regularly adapt to meet the new challenges, it is aimed beyond our sovereignty issues, at defending multilateralism, international law, free access to global commons, collective and inclusive approach for the security challenges of the region, including those link to environmental and climate change," he said.

Meanwhile, Brigadier General Caroline Salahun, Asia-Pacific Director of the Direction Générale de L'armement (DGA), said France and the Philippines are poised to write a new page in our partnership in the Indo-Pacific "by fleshing out the significance of the pacific defense chapter which is very pivotal for the development of our military relationship."

In her talk, she said a major issue in defense capability building is the development of a strong and sustainable domestic defense industry.