Macron defends his remarks about not being a ‘vassal’ of the US over Taiwan

Emmanuel Macron

French President Emmanuel Macron stressed that France’s delivery of a frigate to Taiwan demonstrated its commitment to regional security. Still, the French President reiterated that Paris would not act as a “vassal” by joining US hardliners in a fight with China over the democratic island.

“To be allies is not to be vassals… Just because we are allies, just because we decide to do things together, doesn’t mean we don’t have the right to think for ourselves and that we will follow the most extreme people in a country that is allied with us,” Macron said during a joint news conference with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte during a visit to the Netherlands.

“When we look at the facts, France has no lessons to learn from anyone, not in the Ukrainian theater, nor the Sahel theater, nor in the Taiwan theater,” Macron stated.

Macron’s remarks come after he told Politico and the French newspaper Les Echos that Europe should avoid getting entangled in wars that were not its concern and that it should not act as “followers” of the US in defending Taiwan. 

Emmanuel Macron’s words sparked great worry about the transatlantic alliance at a time when the United States is providing the majority of military assistance to Ukraine, which is fighting Russia’s invasion, and communist China with more and more bellicose actions against Taiwan.

China claims the island as part of its territory, which Taiwan denies. This clash of positions may spark a war, regional analysts worry.

In response to repeated questioning about these remarks, the French President stated that his viewpoint was “very clear” and that his statement did not spark a backlash from the US administration.

“On Taiwan, France, and Europe hold the same attitude. “We are in favor of the status quo, and this policy has not changed; it is the One China policy and the search for a peaceful resolution of the issue,” Macron said, emphasizing that “this position has always been coherent with the role of allies.”

While backing Macron, France’s Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire accused Washington of imposing double standards in trade with China.

“Some argue, for example, in the United States, that Western economies, whether American or European, should be completely disconnected from the Chinese economy. I observe that the volume of commerce between China and the US has never been higher… We are asking Europe to give up trade that has expanded between the US and China. We don’t want to be the idiots that are duped and allow other countries to trade with China while we lose the right to do so”, Le Maire said. 

It’s expected that these remarks will require bilateral France-US talks to find a consensus on disputed topics over China and Taiwan after Macron visited Beijing.

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