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France to join North Korea surveillance at sea

AFP  |  Paris 

will Friday agree to join patrols off in a fresh sign of efforts to deepen ties and military links between and Paris, officials said.

and France, which sees as a Pacific power because controls territories in the region, share joint concerns about North Korea's nuclear programme, as well as China's growing assertiveness in the Sea.

will pledge to send a frigate and a reconnaissance aircraft to join surveillance efforts of North Korea, which involve Japanese and American naval forces based in the Japanese region of Okinawa, officials told AFP.

"The Indo-Pacific region is essential for us," French said in an interview with the regional Le Telegramme daily published ahead of security talks between the countries.

Japanese and were in France on Friday for talks with their French counterparts in and the port town of Brest, home to France's second-biggest naval base.

has also invited France to send its to Japan, which would likely mean it passing through the contested Sea, claimed almost entirely by The Charles de Gaulle is expected to begin a trip to shortly.

"We would like it to stop in It's not yet confirmed... it would be a very symbolic event," a for the Japanese embassy in Paris, Yoshihiro Higuchi, told AFP.

China claims almost all of the strategic Sea as part of its territory, alarming the US and its allies, which periodically send planes and warships to the area in defence of their right under international law to pass through the waters.

French and Japanese marines are also set to hold joint exercises in the next few months off the coast of in east Africa, where both countries have bases, and "perhaps in the Indian Ocean," a French said.

France and Japan have upped efforts to deepen their naval partnership with a view to countering Chinese influence in the Pacific.

Macron has called for a new alliance between the Asian democracies of India, Australia, Japan and France, which has troops stationed in its colonial-era territory of

Higuchi said that Japan saw Macron as "more active, more committed" to Pacific defence than his predecessors "France is the only European country with a permanent military presence," Higuchi added.

Analysts say Japan too is eager to deepen its regional alliances due to uncertainty about US Donald Trump's commitment to defending the country and other Asian allies.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, January 11 2019. 19:30 IST