Japan and France on Thursday agreed to bolster their cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region and shared serious concerns over the state of affairs in the East and South China seas, as China's military clout is increasing in the region.

During the virtual talks involving the foreign and defense ministers from each country, the two also expressed their strong concerns over North Korea's missile and nuclear development following Pyongyang's ballistic missile launch on Monday, its fourth in just two weeks.

"The four ministers affirmed their commitment to promoting cooperation to contribute to the rules-based, free and open Indo-Pacific," the ministers said in a joint statement released after their "two-plus-two" security ministerial meeting, the first of its kind since a session in France in January 2019.