Biden ‘stepping on red line of Taiwan issues’ says expert
Emmanuel Macron has sparked furious backlash after saying Europe must not be a “follower” of the agenda from the USA when it comes to getting dragged into the potentially volatile dispute between China and Taiwan. The controversial remarks from the French President come after the conclusion of a three-day state visit to China last week, which included meeting his counterpart Xi Jinping. Mr Macron said: “The question Europeans need to answer is the following: is it in our interest to accelerate [a crisis] in Taiwan? No.
“The worst thing would be to think that we Europeans must become followers on this topic and take our cue from the US agenda and a Chinese overreaction.”
In a quote from Les Echos newspaper, he was also reported as saying: “We Europeans need to wake up. Our priority is not to adapt to the agenda of others in all regions of the world.”
But the remarks have sparked a furious reaction from many at a time when tensions between China and Taiwan are approaching boiling point.
Nile Gardiner, a Washington-based foreign policy expert and former aide to Lady Margaret Thatcher, raged on Twitter: “Emmanuel Macron is acting as Beijing’s useful idiot. His appeasement of China is an embarrassment to France.”
Dr Malcolm Davis, senior analyst from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, said Mr Macron’s comments were “ill-conceived at best, and poorly timed” given the situation in Ukraine, and the need for Europe and the US to support Kyiv together.
He commented: “He’s dramatically weakened trans-Atlantic unity in the face of a determined challenge from Moscow and Beijing, by promoting his concept strategic autonomy for Europe (with France leading of course – I wonder what the Germans must think?) and in doing so weakened NATO.”
The expert warned Mr Macron has “given Xi Jinping and the CCP a huge boost to their perception that western liberal democracies are weak and divided”.
German foreign policy scholar and China-watcher Ulrich Speck also wrote on Twitter: “What Macron says about Taiwan – the core security theme in the Indo-Pacific – vindicates the Australian decision to cancel the submarine deal with France and to create AUKUS with the UK and the US.”
US Republican senator Marco Rubio said in a video message on Twitter: “We need to ask Europe, does he speak for them, because we’re pretty heavily involved in Ukraine right now, we’re spending a lot of our taxpayer money on a European war.
“And I’ve supported that because I think that’s in the national interest to the United States to be allies to our allies.
“But if our allies’ position, if in fact Macron speaks for all of Europe, and their position now is they’re not going to pick sides between the US and China over Taiwan, maybe we shouldn’t be picking sides either?
“Maybe we should say we’re going to be focusing on Taiwan and the threats that China poses and you guys handle Ukraine and Europe.”
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He added: “We need to find out does Macron speak for Macron, or does Macron speak for Europe? We need to get the answer to that quickly because China is very excited about what he said.
“They enthusiastically support everything he said. We need to find out where Europe stands.”
Beijing has long viewed Taiwan, which is a self-ruled democracy, as Chinese territory, and has frequently to take the island by force.
But it is likely these comments from Mr Macron could infuriate the White House, with the US repeatedly vowing to help defend itself in the event of a conflict with China.
In addition, Mr Macron alsosuggested Europe is not in a position to become involved in the simmering dispute between China and Taiwan, given the ongoing situation in Ukraine.
The French President said: “Europeans cannot resolve the crisis in Ukraine.
“How can we credibly say about Taiwan, ‘watch out, if you do something wrong we will be there’? If you really want to increase tensions that’s the way to do it.”
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