December 17, 2012

France: The Other Pacific Power

Center for Strategic and Int'l Studies, Center for Strategic and International Studies

AP Photo

When discussing Washington's partners in the Pacific, the conversation usually focuses on coordination with Australia and New Zealand. What is often overlooked is the role France plays in the region. The fact that France holds three territories in the South Pacific-New Caledonia, Wallis and Futuna, and French Polynesia-accounting for about one third of the Pacific Islands' combined exclusive economic zone (EEZ), is frequently forgotten.

France's territories have historically been isolated from the rest of the region by a linguistic barrier and their unique trading relationship with Europe. France also limited its own opportunities to engage the independent states of the Pacific by directing aid exclusively to its territories. This situation began to change in 1996 with France's...

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TAGGED: France, United States, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, New Caledonia, French Polynesia, Wallis and Futuna, South Pacific, Washington, Europe, Pacific Islands

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