Macron says Europe must not be influenced by US, China on Taiwan
French President Emmanuel Macron risks angering Washington for choosing an unbias stance on Taiwan.
In an interview published on Sunday, French President Emmanuel Macron stated that Europe must not be a "follower" of either the US or China on Taiwan, warning that the EU risks becoming entangled in "crises that aren't ours."
His remarks risk infuriating Washington and highlighting tensions inside the European Union over how to approach China, as the US escalates confrontation with its main adversary and Beijing moves closer to Russia in the aftermath of the war in Ukraine.
"The worst thing would be to think that we Europeans must be followers and adapt ourselves to the American rhythm and a Chinese overreaction," Macron told media including French business daily Les Echos and Politico as he returned Friday from a three-day state visit to Beijing.
The French president stated that "we must be clear where our views overlap with the US, but whether it's about Ukraine, relations with China, or sanctions, we have a European strategy."
"We don't want to get into a bloc versus bloc logic," he added, saying Europe "should not be caught up in a disordering of the world and crises that aren't ours".
Angered by Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen's meeting with US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy last week, Beijing promptly conducted extensive military drills surrounding the island after Macron left for France, including simulated strikes on its territory.
Macron discussed Taiwan with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday during a visit in which he was feted but more hardline EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen was largely ignored.
According to his Elysee Palace, the talks were "dense and frank," and the French president was concerned about "growing tensions in the region" that could lead to "a terrible accident."
Macron was "simply talking about the risk of Chinese 'overreaction', forgetting China wishes to change the status quo by taking over Taiwan one way or the other," Antoine Bondaz of the Paris-based Foundation for Strategic Research (FRS) commented on Twitter.
"Why this desire never to recall we have an interest in maintaining stability?" he added, warning that "this ambiguity... instills doubt in our like-minded partners".
Macron added that the island of Taiwan was just one region where there was a potential for "an acceleration of tensions breaking out between the duopoly" of China and the US.
If confrontation escalates fast, Europeans would run out of time and would lack the resources to finance the strategic autonomy, he said, suggesting the government build a "third pole."
Macron has long sought Europe's development as an independent geostrategic player, following in the footsteps of the Fifth Republic founding president Charles de Gaulle, who regarded France as a balancing power between Cold War blocs.
Macron visits Xi
This comes after French President Emmanuel Macron arrived in China on April 5th, where he intends to discuss with Chinese President Xi Jinping the situation in Ukraine and bilateral trade ties between the EU and Beijing.
In his first speech since arriving for a three-day state visit, Macron said China could play a major role in finding a "path to peace" in Ukraine.
"China, with its close relationship with Russia, which has been reaffirmed in recent days, can play a major role," he indicated.
The French leader also said France would engage "in this shared responsibility for peace and stability."
At the French embassy in Beijing, Macron said that Europe must not separate from China economically.
"We must not disassociate ourselves, separate ourselves from China," he said during a gathering of Beijing's French community, saying France would "commit proactively to continue to have a commercial relationship with China."