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France to Push for Coordinated EU Patrols in South China Sea

  • Defense minister says free navigation in area is key issue
  • Breach of law in region may lead to issues elsewhere, he says
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Beijing's Top Admiral Warns on South China Sea

France will urge European Union nations to coordinate navy patrols to ensure a “regular and visible” presence in the disputed South China Sea, in the latest sign of international push back to China’s expanded military clout in the area.

The French government views the protection of freedom of the seas as critical from an economic standpoint and is concerned that a loss of such rights in the South China Sea may lead to similar problems in the Arctic Ocean or Mediterranean Sea, Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told attendees at a global defense forum, including top Chinese officials.