The French government is sending warships to the South China Sea as a show of support for its longtime ally, the United States of America, which is disputing the sweeping territorial claims of China.
(Friendly ties between France and the US can be traced back to the days of the American Revolutionary War, when troops under the Marquis de Lafayette aided the Americans fight the British.)
A report by Singapore’s South China Morning Post said the French navy is travelling to the ASEAN region on a months-long mission purportedly to strengthen its partnership with Japan, India, Australia and the US.
Earlier, the French nuclear attack submarine Emeraude and its support ships steamed through the contested waters, prompting a protest from Beijing.
The SCMP said that the French navy will be increasing the frequency of its operations in the SCS to protest China’s bullying tactics against the smaller nations in the region such as the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei, Taiwan and Indonesia.