France is unenthusiastic about a proposal for NATO to open a liaison office in Japan, a French official said Tuesday, adding the move would take the alliance away from its prime region of focus.

There have been suggestions, alluded to most recently by Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, for the opening of the office in Tokyo in response to the growing challenge posed by China.

"NATO (stands for) North Atlantic, and both article V and article VI (in its statutes) clearly limit the scope to North Atlantic," said a French official, asking not to be named.