Hollande announces aircraft deal; pledges naval support for Vietnam

French President Francois Hollande announced a multi-billion dollar aviation deal and pledged support for right of passage in the South China Sea during a state visit to Vietnam on Tuesday.

The aircraft manufacturer Airbus, which is partly based in Toulouse, will sell 40 commercial planes to Vietnam worth 6.5 billion dollars under a deal announced by Hollande at a press conference.

Hollande also reaffirmed French support for maintaining freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, in line with international conventions, despite China laying claim to most of the area. 

The two sides agreed to strengthen defence cooperation and have French ships visit Vietnamese ports. France also pledged to support Vietnam’s growing involvement in international peacekeeping. 

Hollande is the first French president to visit Vietnam in 12 years. While the trip’s schedule is mostly routine, the trip comes at a time of increased tension over the South China Sea. 

The French Navy is expected to begin conducting naval patrols in the disputed zone which are aimed at undermining China’s maritime claims to the area. 

French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has also urged other EU members to contribute to naval patrols in the disputed zone.

Last update: Tue, 06/09/2016 - 08:46

More from World

US abstains for first time from UN vote condemning Cuban embargo

The United States abstained for the first time in 24 years from a vote in the UN General Assembly urging an end to...

Venezuelans demand end to "dictatorship" as tensions surge

Venezuela's political crisis escalated Wednesday as the opposition announced a general strike and threatened to...

Monitor: Death toll rises to 35 in bombing of Syrian rebel village

The death toll from Wednesday's airstrikes near a school complex in a rebel-held village in north-western Syria has...

US pushing for TTIP deal ahead of Obama's Germany trip

The United States said Wednesday it is continuing to push forward with a US-European trade agreement with the "...

2016 deadliest year for migrants in Mediterranean, UN agency says

This year has been the deadliest ever for migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe, with at least 3,800...