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Abe, Hollande to discuss ban on military-convertible items

Kyodo

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and French President Francois Hollande are scheduled to agree Friday in Tokyo to start talks on banning exports of dual-use items that can be diverted to military use, a government official said.

They will also agree to jointly develop defense equipment, according to the official.

Their meeting will take place amid Japanese concern about a deal under which France will sell ship-based landing systems for helicopters to China. The systems could be used on Chinese surveillance vessels that have been deployed around the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea.

Japan is aiming to stop France from exporting dual-use items to China. France, for its part, has been seeking joint development of defense equipment.

The agreement will be included in a joint statement to be released following the Abe-Hollande meeting, the official said.

The defense talks will be staged by working-level officials from both nations’ foreign and defense ministries. Japan expects them to be convened regularly.

While the European Union has maintained an arms embargo against China introduced in the wake of the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown, France argues that the helicopter landing equipment is not subject to the embargo.

The leaders’ joint statement will include promoting security information exchanges related to North Africa following the hostage crisis in Algeria in January that resulted in the deaths of dozens of foreign nationals, including 10 Japanese.