Philippe Errera, Director-General for Political Affairs and Security at the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, and Alice Guitton, Director-General for International Relations and Strategy at the Ministry of the Armed Forces, held consultations on October 19 in Tokyo with their Japanese counterparts: Masataka Okano, Deputy Minister for Foreign Policy, and Yasushi Noguchi, Director-General for International Affairs at the Ministry of Defense. The last meeting in this format had been held virtually in July 2020. Exemplifying the ?exceptional partnership? between France and Japan, this meeting was held to prepare the next 2+2 meeting at the level of the two countries' foreign and defense ministers, to be held at the end of the year.
These consultations confirmed the two parties' similar approach toward the Indo-Pacific as a free, open space based on the rule of law. They underscored their desire to work jointly to implement concrete projects promoting development and security in the region. In that regard, the French delegation presented its goals as part of its upcoming presidency of the Council of the European Union, with the Indo-Pacific as one of its priorities, based on the European strategy presented on September 16.
These discussions also covered our cooperation on security and defense and underscored our common desire to deepen our strategic relations in concrete areas. With the expected strengthening of the legal framework for our bilateral security and defense relationship, the intensification of operational interactions was approved, including those in Djibouti.
The two delegations welcomed the resumption of bilateral interministerial work within the framework of the global maritime dialogue as well as the bilateral working groups on the Indo-Pacific, cybersecurity and space, as health constraints are eased.
The political directors also addressed international crises. Among the issues discussed were developments in North Korea's nuclear and ballistic programs and their consequences, and the situation in Afghanistan. The situation in the Sahel was also discussed, as was the Iranian nuclear crisis, as Japan and France share the goal of restoring cooperation between Iran and the IAEA and Iran's swift return to compliance with the JCPoA.
Finally, the political directors shared their in-depth assessments of the challenges relating to China's strategic posture and the consequences to be drawn from them.