France is pressing its allies in the European Union (EU) — especially Germany and the United Kingdom (despite Brexit) — to establish joint EU naval patrols of the South China Sea.
France is urging the 27-nation EU to coordinate naval patrols in the South China Sea to ensure a “regular and visible” presence in the disputed waters illegally claimed by China, the latest sign of an international counter to China’s militarization of this strategic waterway.
France has shown keen interest in leading naval patrols of the South China Sea by warships of the European Union to defend freedom of navigation still threatened by China’s opposition to the decision by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in favor of the Philippines that denied China’s aim to own most of these waters.
The French government said the protection of freedom of the seas is vital from an economic standpoint. It’s also concerned a loss of this right in the South China Sea might lead to similar problems in the Arctic Ocean or Mediterranean Sea, said Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.
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