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Philippines, France to level-up defence ties

By Mikhail Flores

MANILA (Reuters) – The Philippines and France agreed to level-up defence cooperation between the two countries, Philippine defence minister Gilberto Teodoro said on Saturday.

Teodoro met his French counterpart Sebastien Lecornu in Manila where he said they are working to get authority from their leaders to begin negotiations for a status of forces agreement.

“We intend to take concrete steps to leveling up and making more comprehensive our defense cooperation,” Teodoro said in a joint briefing

Lecornu’s Manila visit is the first leg of his trip across the Indo-Pacific which includes stops in Malaysia and the French overseas territory of New Caledonia.

France considers itself an Indo-Pacific power, with over 7,000 troops stationed in overseas territories in the Pacific and Indian Ocean.

(Reporting by Mikhail Flores; Editing by Lincoln Feast and Edwina Gibbs)

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