27 Jun 2006

France vows to support Pacific Islands region

11:06 am on 27 June 2006

France has promised to continue support for the Pacific Islands region.

The French president, Jacques Chirac, speaking in Paris at a summit attended by delegations from all 16 Pacific Forum countries, says France is itself a Pacific nation and it belongs in the region.

Paris is seeking to boost its ties with countries in the Pacific Ocean, region, where it already exerts a degree of influence by virtue of its three dependencies: New Caledonia, French Polynesia, and Wallis and Futuna.

Ben Lowings reports from Paris.

"Japan and China are other major world powers who're serious about the strategic value of the Pacific. They have an unspoken expectation of backing on major issues. All of them want a prosperous region and a commensurate share of the global economy. They want to see the Pacific's natural resources put to good use. But France says it is the champion of the Pacific Islands on the world stage and will remain so in the future. At the Elysee Palace in Paris for RNZI this is Ben Lowings."