France’s Hollande looks to strengthen ties with Europe and Asia

Vastavam Web: French President Francois Hollande called today for efforts to intensify the relationship between Europe and Asia in the face of resurgent “isolationism”.He was speaking in Singapore, the first stage of the last international tour of his five-year term which will also take him to Malaysia and Indonesia.“I appeal for us to intensify our exchanges, our trade, political and cultural agreements,” he said.”This is all the more necessary because there is a resurgence of protectionism, isolationism and the questioning of international institutions,” he said in a clear allusion to the United States under President Donald Trump.

Hollande cited the “very high level” of military cooperation between Paris and Singapore, such as the training of Singaporean fighter pilots in France and joint work on cyber-security.He was speaking at the Asia-Pacific campus in Singapore of France’s ESSEC business school after meeting French students, teachers and business leaders during a visit focused largely on economic issues.Hollande was to hold talks later Sunday with his Singapore counterpart Tony Tan Keng Yam.On Tuesday he travels to Malaysia, which has a continuing relationship with France in defence matters.Hollande’s tour ends Wednesday in Indonesia, where he will make the first visit by a French head of state since Francois Mitterrand in 1986.