France Remains Committed To Strategic Presence In Pacific

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Budget cuts see shift from French Polynesia to New Caledonia

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, June 3, 2013) – The French defence minister says the Asia-Pacific region remains a strategic challenge for France.

Jean-Yves Le Drian says France has intensified its politico-military cooperation in the region despite budget difficulties.

Speaking to the Security Forum Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, he says France can not turn away, whatever the constraints of geography, the impact of fiscal restraint or false assumptions about the exclusive economic dimension that would take the Euro-Asian relationship.

Mr Le Drian says France also intends to approach the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

For budgetary reasons, France has scaled down its military presence in French Polynesia and concentrated operations in New Caledonia.

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