FRANCE is prepared to provide diesel-electric submarines to the Philippines to help it respond to potential conflicts in the Indo-Pacific region, according to its top envoy.
“France is obviously committed to working more closely with the Philippines and to have more strategic relations,” French Ambassador to the Philippines Michèle Boccoz told a news briefing on Wednesday. “Should the Philippines make the decision, of course we are more than ready to work on that perspective with them.”
She said France’s position in the Indo-Pacific is nonconfrontational, allowing partnerships in some areas while having competition and rivalry in others.
But Ms. Boccoz cited the need to be prepared for potential conflicts. Deterrence, she added, is the preferred response and “we have to have the right tools for that.”
The Philippines should consider submarine ownership as one of the most efficient deterrents, the envoy said.
Ms. Boccoz cited a vow that Philippine President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. made in his first address to Congress, where he said he would “not preside over any process that will abandon even one square inch of territory of the Republic of the Philippines to any foreign power.”
“He was very clear on his position on protecting the territorial integrity of the country, may it be maritime or terrestrial,” she said.
“I listened very carefully to the very interesting presentation of the strategic dimension and the positioning of the country, and we are definitely ready to partner with the Philippines on that by providing the force,” she added. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan