The United States and its allies, including France, Japan, Australia and New Zealand, are actively expanding their activity in the Pacific to counter China’s influence.
Though tiny in land mass, the Pacific Islands control vast swathes of resource-rich ocean known as Exclusive Economic Zones, forming a formidable border between the Americas and Asia.
“To better cope with the predatory logic of which we are all victims, I wish to strengthen our maritime cooperation in the South Pacific,” Macron said after a videoconference with the leaders of Australia, the Marshall Islands, from Papua New Guinea and representatives from New Guinea. Zealand and other Pacific countries.
“We will launch a coastguard network for the South Pacific around three main objectives: information sharing, operational cooperation and training,” he said.
Macron did not name China in his closing remarks. When asked if the policy was aimed at expanding China, a French presidential adviser said it targeted illegal fishing which was “largely due to private actors”.
Chinese fishing fleets – from private boats to commercial trawlers owned by publicly traded companies – have sunk deeper into Southeast Asian waters in search of new fishing grounds as stocks grow. dwindle closer to home.
France, which has island territories covering the Indo-Pacific, including Réunion in the Indian Ocean and French Polynesia in the Pacific, has strengthened its defense links with Australia and India as part of an initiative to counter Chinese influence in the region.