Does Macron's stance on Taiwan weaken G7 deterrence against China?
One of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s top goals for next month’s Group of Seven summit in Hiroshima is to create a united front on issues like China and Ukraine. But finding a unified approach to dealing with Beijing’s assertiveness might have just become harder.
Kishida now faces a greater challenge following stunning remarks by French President Emmanuel Macron that the European Union should follow neither the U.S. nor China’s position on Taiwan — a stance that experts say may weaken U.S.-led deterrence efforts against Beijing.
In his remarks published Sunday in Politico and the French newspaper Les Echos, Macron said that “the great risk” Europe is currently facing is that it “gets caught up in crises that are not ours,” preventing it from building what he called “strategic autonomy.”
“The paradox would be that, overcome with panic, we believe we are just America’s followers,” Macron told the media outlets during his trip last week to China, where he appears to have put business before politics, securing big new deals for French firms.
“The question Europeans need to answer … is it in our interest to accelerate (a crisis) on Taiwan? No. The worst thing would be to think that we Europeans must become followers on this topic and take our cue from the U.S. agenda and a Chinese overreaction,” he said, adding that Europe should instead pursue a path of strategic autonomy to become a third superpower.
Confusion among partners
In this regard, France’s strategic autonomy discourse is creating confusion among partners about its China policy and its commitment to stability in the Indo-Pacific, said Celine Pajon, a Japan expert at the French Institute of International Relations.
Pajon said there are also concerns in Japan that such a posture might complicate coordination with Washington in the run-up to the Hiroshima G7 summit, where Kishida “will certainly try to mediate” trans-Atlantic relations.
A smooth and fruitful G7 summit is an important goal for Tokyo, which has recently been deepening ties with NATO and has high expectations about engaging Europeans in the increasingly volatile Indo-Pacific.
“To dissuade China from making risky moves, Paris should send clear signals that France would side with Washington and Taipei in case of any aggression,” Pajon said.
>> Read the whole article on the Japan Times website