Visit of a senior naval officer of the French armies in Manila

Rear Admiral Jean-Mathieu Rey, co-commander of the French armies in Asia-Pacific (Alpaci), concluded his two-day working visit to Manila aimed at meeting with Philippine military and defense officials and highlighting the France’s commitment to a free, secure and open Indo-Pacific, based on respect for international law and multilateralism.

Rear Admiral Jean-Mathieu Rey, Joint Commander of the French Armed Forces in Asia-Pacific, and Vice Admiral Adeluis Bordado, Commander of the Philippine Navy, PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE FRENCH EMBASSY

Rear Admiral Rey held separate meetings on March 7 and 8 with Vice Admiral Adeluis Bordado, Flag Commander of the Philippine Navy, Vice Admiral Artemio Abu, Commander of the Philippine Coast Guard, and Lt. Gen. Erickson Gloria, Vice Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. , and the Commander of the Philippine Fleet, Rear Admiral Nichols Driz.

During these talks, military officials affirmed their desire to expand the bilateral operational commitment between the French and Philippine armed forces in the areas of humanitarian aid and disaster response (HADR), and discussed the possibility of carrying out joint patrols in the EEZs to develop our interoperability. .

“With the Philippines, we share a common interest in areas such as humanitarian assistance. We are under the same threat of natural disasters in our overseas territories. The second area is the protection of our exclusive economic zone. We share the same need to protect our resources in our EEZs from threats such as illegal fishing,” Rear Admiral Rey said.

The French joint commander also addressed the National Defense College of the Philippines where he highlighted France’s Indo-Pacific strategy and the importance of strengthening cooperation with France’s partners in the region in order to maintain a regional order. rules-based.

Based in French Polynesia, Rear Admiral Rey leads the French Joint Armed Forces operating in Asia-Pacific, contributing to the protection of French territories and its 1.6 million citizens in the Indo-Pacific region.

Composed of resources from the French Navy, Air and Space Force and Marine Infantry regiments, this joint force also supports its partners in the region in the implementation of the Indo -Pacific of France, in particular in respect of international law. , freedom of navigation, the promotion of multilateralism and the fight against nuclear proliferation.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana (second from left) visited the French ship Le Vendémiaire in the presence of Ambassador Michèle Boccoz (second from right) and Rear Admiral Rey.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana (second from left) visited the French ship Le Vendémiaire in the presence of Ambassador Michèle Boccoz (second from right) and Rear Admiral Rey.

In Asia-Pacific, Alpaci conducts several activities, including Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) exercises, amphibious exercises, and the regular deployment of air and naval assets.

The French frigate “Le Vendémiaire” stops in Manila

On March 8, the Floréal-class light surveillance frigate “Vendémiaire” arrived in Manila from Vietnam as part of its routine mission to demonstrate freedom of navigation and allow interactions between French and Philippine naval officers. .

Secretary of Defense Delfin Lorenzana, accompanied by senior officers from the Philippine Navy Headquarters, visited the French ship in the presence of Ambassador Michele Boccoz and Rear Admiral Rey.

While moored in Manila until March 11, Vendémiaire participated in a HADR readiness activity with the Philippine Navy and Philippine Coast Guard, following the EU Crimario training mission to the Philippines last month.

Le Vendémiaire made a final stopover in the Philippines in 2021.

Under the command of Commander Alain Gaborit, Vendémiaire has an overall length of 93.5 meters, a beam of 14.1 meters and a draft of 4.3 meters, and is fitted with an anti-surface gun , an anti-aircraft gun and rapid-fire guns. Le Vendémiaire is based in Nouméa, New Caledonia.

French frigates sailing overseas were designed to carry out surveillance and humanitarian missions, as well as to enforce French interests away from the continent. These include: the surveillance of overseas areas under French sovereignty (surveillance of the EEZ, protection of fishing and the fight against smuggling); awareness of the maritime domain and police patrol (anti-pollution, medical and logistical assistance); foster maritime cooperation with allies in the region; and humanitarian action.

The French Indo-Pacific strategy

France is an Indo-Pacific nation through its overseas territories (New Caledonia, French Polynesia, Mayotte, Reunion and Wallis and Futuna). The region is home to 1.6 million French citizens, as well as 8,000 military personnel stationed in the region. France has the second largest EEZ in the world (10.2 million square kilometres), more than 90% of which is located in the Indo-Pacific.

Aware of the geopolitical and economic importance of the region, France became the first country in the European Union to publish its Indo-Pacific strategy in September 2018. It is also a major promoter of the Indo-Pacific strategy of the EU launched in September 2021.

The French Indo-Pacific Strategy aims to promote a stable, rules-based multipolar order and is committed to deepening France’s engagement in the region. It provides a framework for developing cooperation with its partners, including the Philippines and ASEAN, to jointly provide common solutions to global challenges such as maritime security, the fight against climate change and the protection of biodiversity.

“France is an Indo-Pacific country, and we are here to stay. This is a long-term commitment and we want to lead by example. We do this by having the presence of the French Armed Forces here and by developing our relationship with their counterparts in the Philippines,” said French Ambassador Michèle Boccoz.

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