Philippines, France in talks to bolster defense ties

The Philippines and France are in talks for further defense cooperation following the latter's first-ever participation in the largest war games between Filipino and American troops.

Officials from the Philippines Defense Department's Assessment and Planning Office and from the French Defense Ministry's International Security Affairs Office gathered in Paris to discuss strengthening strategic exchanges between the two sides.

They also talked about crafting a legal framework for defense relations and had military interactions in the naval, air and land sectors as well as defense and armaments industry.

"The meeting comes following the first time that France participated in the 2024 Balikatan exercise between the Philippines and the United States," the French Embassy in Manila said as it also noted the visit of frigate Vendémiaire, which took part in the maritime phase of the exercise from April 22 to May 3, as part of the annual deployment to Southeast Asia of French assets based in the Pacific.

In December 2023, French Minister for the Armed Forces Sebastien Lecornu flew to Manila and met Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro amid developments in the Indo-Pacific and in the Middle East.

The two ministers planned to establish long-term ties on maritime, land, aerial, and information domains as they saw a positive trajectory of the Philippines-France defense and military relations.

They committed to deepen bilateral defense ties between both countries as they signed a Letter of Intent, expressing willingness to raise the level of interaction and to consolidate their exchanges through practical cooperation.

Such included the recent activity that was held between the officials of Philippines Defense Department's Assessment and Planning Office and of French Defense Ministry's International Security Affairs Office.