Japan and France agreed Saturday on a new road map to bolster defense and economic security cooperation between their countries, with China's expanding clout in the Indo-Pacific region apparently in mind.

The road map, which set goals for cooperation in a broad range of areas through 2027, called for maintaining a free and open international order based on the rule of law.

Japan has been pushing for a "free and open Indo-Pacific" to counter China's rise, while France has a strategic interest in the region given that it has overseas territories in the South Pacific, such as New Caledonia.

The agreement was announced after a telephone conversation between Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and French President Emmanuel Macron in the United Arab Emirates.

The two leaders were in Dubai to attend a summit-level gathering of COP28.

The two countries also agreed in their road map to hold a working-level meeting on economic security soon and affirmed their cooperation on developing supply chains for critical minerals such as rare earths.

On defense, Japan and France said they will speed up discussions on concluding their Reciprocal Access Agreement (RAA). The deal would ensure smoother deployment of their forces for joint exercises or disaster relief efforts.

Japan already has RAAs with Australia and Britain.

On the sidelines of the U.N. climate meeting, Kishida also met with the president of Egypt and pledged assistance of up to $230 million to support the country, which has been affected by the fallout of Israel's war against Hamas in Gaza.

During talks with the king of Jordan, Kishida also committed $100 million in aid to the country, which also shares a border with Israel.