The defense and foreign ministers of Japan and France agreed at their "two-plus-two" meeting Friday to start negotiations over a bilateral accord on sharing defense supplies and services.

In a joint statement issued after the meeting in Paris, the ministers also expressed opposition to "unilateral action that would raise tensions" in the South China Sea, an apparent reference to China's land reclamation and other activities in the contested waters highlighting its growing assertiveness.

The third meeting of the kind between the two countries involved Defense Minister Tomomi Inada and Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida on the Japan side and French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault.