Kishida, Macron affirm close security cooperation

Japan's Prime Minister Kishida Fumio and French President Emmanuel Macron have agreed to continue to deepen their cooperation in strengthening security ties.

The two leaders spoke by phone on Monday at Japan's request. It was their first talks since Kishida took office in October.

Kishida called France, which has territories in the Pacific Ocean, "an extremely important partner in the region." He said he wishes to strengthen cooperation to realize a free and open Indo-Pacific.

Macron replied that he too hopes to cooperate with Japan to build stronger bilateral relations.

The leaders referred to the two countries' deepening security cooperation in recent years, including a French naval flotilla's port call to Japan in May.

Kishida also welcomed the leading role that France has played in drawing up the European Union's strategy for cooperation in the Indo-Pacific.

He also highlighted Japan's hopes to further develop cooperative ties with the EU through France, which will assume the European Council's rotating presidency in the first half of next year.