Aside from developing trade and investment ties, French Secretary of State to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne said France is also interested in expanding cooperation with Manila in research, culture, and defense and security.
On the sidelines of the JEC meeting in Manila, Lemoyne met with Foreign Affairs Secretary Locsin Jr.
“With Secretary Locsin, we discussed most bilateral issues and also strategic issues because France, you know, is a permanent member of the Security Council of the United Nations,” he told reporters in an interview.
Locsin earlier said Paris has offered “some of the best military hardware” to the Philippines.
Prodded for a categorical answer, the French official said the Philippines has to state what is needed.
“Those discussions will continue… of course we have great expertise in submarine and in the region, we established a strategic partnership with Australia in submarines and it’s a proof of the quality of our industry but not only the quality, also the fact that France can establish strategic partnerships in the region,” he said.
“[It is] the Philippines who has to define what is the need, what they want and then, of course, we will apply to fulfill these needs,” he added.
Lemoyne did not provide further details but said they are hoping to welcome Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana “in the coming months to Paris” to further discuss this aspect of cooperation. with PNA