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France, Japan vow to strengthen defence ties amid China spat

Published on Jan 10, 2014 1:02 AM
French Foreign Minister Fabius and his Japanese counterpart Kishida attend a news conference at the Quai d'Orsay ministry in Paris. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

PARIS (AFP) - France and Japan vowed Thursday to strengthen their military ties, as Tokyo seeks French support in its long-running spat with Beijing over disputed islands that has raised fresh tensions.

Both China and Japan claim a set of islands in the East China Sea - Diaoyu in Chinese and Senkaku in Japanese - as their own territory, and the escalating row has raised concerns that the two countries could eventually come to blows.

"We want to put in place concrete actions... to reinforce defence technology and industry in both (our) countries," French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said at a joint press conference with his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida, after they held their first so-called "2+2" meeting along with their countries' defence ministers.

French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said the two nations planned to cooperate in areas such as the latest generation helicopters, drones and submarines.

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