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White House ‘confident’ in US-French ties despite Macron’s China remarks

Biden, Macron salute Iranians 'bravely protesting' for freedoms
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The White House said Monday it remains “confident” in the US-French relationship after President Emmanuel Macron distanced himself from US policy on Taiwan and warned Europeans not to be American “followers.”

Macron’s remarks to journalists from French business daily Les Echos and news site Politico came after he was hosted for a state visit by China’s Xi Jinping.

White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said the Biden administration remains “comfortable and confident in the terrific bilateral relationship we have with France.”

Kirby cited President Joe Biden’s personal relationship with Macron and said the two countries are “working together on so many different issues,” including naval operations in the Asia-Pacific.

Washington and Paris are partners in “a concerted effort by all of us in this vast alliance, this network of alliances and partnerships,” Kirby said.

In his interview, Macron said European countries — among the closest allies the United States has — should not get caught in the tense standoff between Beijing and Washington over the fate of democratic Taiwan. Communist China has vowed to regain control, while the US government pledges to help Taiwan defend itself.

Macron, who discussed Taiwan with Xi on Friday, warned against Europe being “caught up in crises that are not ours, which prevents it from building its strategic autonomy.”

“The paradox would be that, overcome with panic, we believe we are just America’s followers,” Macron said. “The worse 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.”

Macron suggested that Europe, which has heavily relied on US military protection since World War II, could be a “third superpower.”

Macron’s bid to distance US allies in Europe from the tense tussle over Taiwan came just before China launched new, large-scale military exercises intended to intimidate the island.

The latest Chinese saber rattling was ordered in response to a trip by the Taiwanese elected president to the United States, including a meeting with House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

Politico wrote that “Macron ‘unfollows’ Washington,” while the influential conservative editorial page at The Wall Street Journal wrote that Macron “blunders” and was undermining US-led deterrence against China.

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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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