“The great risk” Europe faces is getting “caught up in crises that are not ours,” says Macron | Ludovic Marin/ AFP via Getty Images
En route back to France aboard Cotam Unité (otherwise known as France’s Air Force One), President Emmanuel Macron warned Europe to not get caught in the middle of a potential conflict between China and the United States concerning Taiwan. He went on to say that Europe must strive to reduce its reliance on the U.S.
In an interview with POLITICO and two French journalists after a prolonged discussion with Chinese President Xi Jinping during his visit, Macron underlined his notion of “strategic autonomy” for Europe, with France as the main leader, to become a “third superpower.”
He warned that, while on a flight from Beijing to Guangzhou, China aboard COTAM Unite, France’s Air Force One, Europe is at risk of being preoccupied by crises that don’t concern them and thus unable to establish its strategic autonomy.
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The Chinese Communist Party and its leader, Xi Jinping, are strongly in favor of Macron’s idea of strategic autonomy and this concept is often referred to by Chinese officials when interacting with European nations. Beijing’s party leaders and theorists believe the West is in a state of decline, while China is on the rise, and therefore, weakening the ties between the United States and Europe will contribute to that progress.
Macron expressed his concern in the interview that, if Europe were to panic, it would be forced into a subordinate role to America’s agenda with respect to Taiwan. He posed the question: is it in Europe’s interests to hasten a crisis there? His answer was an emphatic “No.” He then warned that the worst thing for Europe to do would be to simply follow the U.S. lead without considering the potential for Chinese overreaction.
Only a few hours after his departure from Guangzhou to Paris, China initiated a series of major military operations close to the self-governed island of Taiwan, which China sees as its own but the United States has stated it will provide arms and security for it.
Following in the wake of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-Wen’s journey through Central American countries, which included a rendezvous with Republican U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy during her California stopover, those military exercises were conducted. Sources close to President Macron intimated that he was relieved that Beijing had waited until his plane had left Chinese airspace before launching the simulated “Taiwan encirclement” exercise.
In recent years, China has issued multiple warnings of potential invasion and has a policy of severing ties with the democratic island by compelling other countries to acknowledge it as part of their “one China” policy.
Discussions about Taiwan
During his meeting with Xi, French president Macron and his accompanying officials reportedly discussed Taiwan “intensely”. Macron seemed to have adopted a more placating attitude than the U.S. and even the EU.
At the meeting in Beijing last Thursday between President Xi and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, the former emphasized the importance of stability in the Taiwan Strait. Von der Leyen added that any threat of using force to alter the existing situation is not tolerable.
On April 7, 2023, Chinese President Xi Jinping and French President Emmanuel Macron were seen in Guangdong. The picture was taken by Jacques Witt of AFP via Getty Images.
Xi declared that those who believed they could sway Beijing’s position on Taiwan were mistaken.
It appears that Macron concurs with the assessment.
It is impossible for Europeans to fix the conflict in Ukraine, so how could we in good faith caution Taiwan to not act inappropriately, and then threaten repercussions? He went on to say that such a move would only lead to increased tension.
Yanmei Xie, an analyst at Gavekal Dragonomics, has stated that Europe is more open to a global landscape in which China is the regional superpower. Some leaders within Europe even contemplate that it could be more advantageous for them in such a world order.
At the three-way summit between Xi Jinping, Macron, and von der Leyen last Thursday in Beijing, the Chinese leader only strayed away from the planned agenda concerning two matters — Ukraine and Taiwan — according to a source in attendance.
The witness stated that Xi was evidently irritated at being blamed for the Ukraine dispute, and he minimized his recent trip to Moscow. They added that the Chinese leader was intensely indignant at the United States and extremely disconcerted about Taiwan, mentioning the Taiwanese president’s journey through the U.S. as well as the fact that Europeans were bringing up matters of foreign policy.
At the gathering, Macron and von der Leyen had comparable positions regarding Taiwan, according to a source. Macron then devoted more than four hours to the Chinese president, mainly in the presence of interpreters, and his attitude when talking to the press was notably softer than von der Leyen’s.
Caution to Vassals
The people known as Vassals should be aware that they have a duty to observe, as this is an obligation they have accepted.
Emmanuel Macron argued that Europe had grown too reliant on the U.S. for weapons and energy, and thus needs to prioritize the growth of its own defense industries.
He further proposed that Europe should diminish its reliance on the “out-of-country preeminence of the American dollar,” a prime objective of both Moscow and Beijing.
He warned that if the antagonism between the two giants intensifies, we won’t have either the time or the resources to secure our independence and will therefore become subordinate.
In recent years, the United States has implemented sanctions against Russia, China, Iran, and other countries, based on blocking their access to the dollar-driven international finance system. This “weaponization” of the dollar has been met with complaints from Europe, as it requires European companies to terminate their dealings with foreign nations or risk facing damaging secondary sanctions.
The President of France, wearing a hoodie with “French Tech” displayed on the front, declared his success in the ideological fight for Europe’s strategic autonomy while in the cabin of his A330 aircraft.
The query of American safety pledges for Europe, which currently necessitates significant U.S. military help in the middle of the first major armed conflict on the continent since the Second World War, was not answered by him.
Due to being one of the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and the only nuclear power in the EU, France has a distinct military positioning. Nevertheless, contributions to the protection of Ukraine from Russia’s offensive have been much less than those of other nations.
The French President’s office, the Elysee Palace, had a demand that POLITICO had to agree to in order to secure the interview: they wanted to check and “proofread” all the president’s quotes to be published. This goes against POLITICO’s editorial standards and policy, but they chose to abide by it. They stressed that they will not deceive their readers and will not publish anything that the president did not say. The quotes in the article were all genuinely said by the president, but some parts of the interview in which the president went into more detail about Taiwan and Europe’s strategic autonomy were removed by the Elysee.
The importance of good communication skills cannot be overstated. Being able to effectively express oneself to another person is critical in any setting. No matter the situation, having the ability to discuss ideas and share thoughts in an organized and meaningful way is vital. Moreover, being able to listen and understand what the other person is saying is an essential part of successful communication. Being a good communicator requires practice and dedication, but it is a skill that can be developed over time.
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