22 Nov 2013

French Polynesia calls for continued French military presence

2:45 pm on 22 November 2013

French Polynesia's president has called on France to maintain its military presence in the region.

Addressing a regional maritime conference in Tahiti, Gaston Flosse says while understanding budget pressures, he would like that the French armed forces in the eastern Pacific won't be curtailed.

He says this is not only in the interest of French Polynesia, but in view of possible geostrategic implications also in the French national interest.

Mr Flosse has further implored France to increase its engagement in exploring the seabed and to push for an extension of the exclusive economic zone by one million square kilometres to the territory's and France's mutual benefit.

He has also urged France to back his initiative to set up a Pacific Islands Forum committee to tend to people who may be displaced by climate change.

Mr Flosse says this would put France at the forefront of what he calls an indispensable crusade.