FRANCE has renewed its commitment to help in the ongoing Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program (AFPMP), the Department of National Defense (DND) announced Wednesday.
The reaffirmation took place following the introductory call of French Ambassador-designate to the Philippines, Marie Fontanel-Lassalle, on DND Secretary Gilberto C. Teodoro Jr. on September 14.
“Emphasizing France’s role as a partner in the Indo-Pacific region, Ambassador-designate Fontanel reiterated France’s offer to support the AFPMP, including the Naval Group’s readiness to assist in building a Philippine submarine force,” DND spokesperson Arsenio Andolong said in a statement released on Wednesday.
Fontanel also said she looks forward to the continued improvement of the two countries’ relations following the recent opening of the French Embassy’s defense mission.
“Other matters raised during the call were the Philippines’ recent joint sails with the United States, and the possible reciprocal visits between the defense ministers of the Philippines and France,” the DND spokesperson added.
Teodoro also underscored the importance of enhancing defense ties with other countries around the globe and how it strengthens complementary relationships such as on trade, investment, and commerce.
“He [DND chief] further suggested that France converge with other like-minded states in upholding freedom of navigation and addressing maritime challenges,” Andolong noted.
This as Teodoro welcomed the “shared commitment of the Philippines and France” to the rules-based international order and adherence to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.