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France's Macron to visit Japan in fall for talks with Abe on N. Korea, ocean security

French President Emmanuel Macron smiles during a meeting with young Nigerian entrepreneurs in Lagos, Nigeria, Wednesday, July 4, 2018. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

TOKYO -- Plans are being made for French President Emmanuel Macron to visit Japan for summit talks with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as early as October this year.

A formal agreement on the visit is expected when Abe sits down with Macron in France in mid-July, with both nations looking to strengthen bilateral cooperation on North Korean denuclearization and high seas security.

The visit will be the first by a French president to Japan since Macron's predecessor Francois Hollande was here for the May 2016 G-7 summit of leading industrial nations.

France has a number of territories in the Pacific Ocean, including French Polynesia and New Caledonia, and has been carefully monitoring China's maritime expansion in the region. Based on rounds of leadership talks, Japan and France are expected to reconfirm the international order of the seas based on the rule of law, as well as cooperation on resolving the issue of Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea and denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.

Prime Minister Abe will be in Paris on July 12 to attend the opening of the "Japonisme 2018" exhibition, and will also observe the military parade in the French capital to celebrate Bastille Day on July 14. At their meeting, Abe and President Macron are also set to sign an Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA) allowing the exchange of equipment and supplies between Japan's Self-Defense Forces and the French military.

(Japanese original by Muneyoshi Mitsuda, Political News Department)

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