9 May 2022

France wants to be 'power balance' between US and China in the Pacific, says Admiral

6:09 pm on 9 May 2022

The commander of the French Armed Forces in the Pacific says France wants to be a power of balance amid the rivalry between the United States and China.

Rear Admiral Jean-Mathieu Rey was speaking to Radio 1 in Tahiti amid alarm in the region over last month's signing of a security pact between China and Solomon Islands.

(L-R) Joint Commander of the French Armed Forces in the Asia Pacific Rear Admiral Jean-Mathieu Rey, French Ambassador to the Philippines Michèle Boccoz, and Philippines' Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana walk on the deck of the French navy's frigate Le Vendémiaire

Rear Admiral Jean-Mathieu Rey on the left Photo: Maria Tan / AFP

New Caledonia - where France has based military forces - is a close neighbour of Solomon Islands.

Rear Admiral Rey said while nothing has happened yet, there is a risk that China could try to have a military installation in Solomon Islands.

He said France is an ally of the United States but is not aligned behind it.

He said, if necessary, France opposes illegal actions by China, but maintains a dialogue with it.

The commander said France will continue to maintain a balance by refusing the logic of the two blocs, which could lead to conflict.