NEW YORK – Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and French President Emmanuel Macron agreed Wednesday in New York to further advance their cooperation in security and defense equipment, reiterating their commitment to maintaining the rule of law at sea.
Abe and Macron agreed to speed up negotiations toward an acquisition and cross-servicing agreement, a type of bilateral defense logistics-sharing deal, according to a senior Japanese official.
In their meeting on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly, the two leaders hailed recent bilateral security cooperation including recent quadrilateral drills between Japanese, French, U.S. and British ships as part of France’s “Jeanne D’Arc” training exercise.
Regarding the South China Sea, Tokyo and Paris will “continue to work in close coordination to maintain an international order based on the rule of law,” the official said, in an apparent reference to China’s expansionary maritime activities.
Abe and Macron also “shared a recognition of the importance of the roles of China and Russia” in curbing North Korea’s nuclear arms and ballistic missile programs, and confirmed they will work in close coordination, including at the U.N. Security Council, to strengthen sanctions on Pyongyang, the official said.
In the roughly 40-minute-long meeting — their first sit-down talks since the Group of Seven leaders’ summit in Italy in May — Abe and Macron confirmed they will work toward the swift conclusion and entry into force of a free trade agreement between Japan and the European Union, on which a broad conclusion was reached in July.
Abe congratulated Macron on the selection of Paris to host the 2024 Olympics and Paralympics and vowed to share Japan’s experience of the 2020 Games in Tokyo, to which the French president replied that he wants to work with Japan to make the events a success, the official said.
Talks between Foreign Minister Taro Kono and French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian held in New York earlier Wednesday the substance of issues covered between Abe and Macron.