Macron Says ‘Non!’ to Planned NATO Liaison Office in Tokyo, While China Also Responds
June 6, 2023, 2022 (EIRNS)—As the Financial Times reported yesterday, French President Emmanuel Macron objects to a NATO proposal to open an office in Tokyo—the alliance’s first outpost in the Indo-Pacific region—because he believes the trans-Atlantic security alliance should remain focused on its own North Atlantic region.
One French official told the FT that NATO’s charter requires the alliance to limit its geographic reach to the “North Atlantic.” Another source familiar with the debate inside NATO said that France was reluctant to back anything “that contributes to NATO-China tension.”
Speaking at a conference last week, Macron said NATO should not expand its reach beyond the North Atlantic and added: “If ... we push NATO to enlarge the spectrum and the geography, we will make a big mistake.”
Macron already angered the U.S. and other allies by suggesting, during a visit to China, that Europe should distance itself from U.S.-China tensions over Taiwan. Setting up a new NATO office requires unanimous support from the North Atlantic Council, NATO’s highest political decision-making body, which means France has the power to stop the move.
“NATO has publicly stated on many occasions that it remains a regional alliance and does not seek a geopolitical breakthrough,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin. “Asia lies beyond the geographical scope of the North Atlantic and has no need for a replica of NATO. However, we have seen NATO bent on going East into this region, interfering in regional affairs and inciting bloc confrontation.” He continued, “As I said yesterday, the attitude of the majority of countries in the region is very clear. They oppose the emergence of military blocs in the region. They don’t welcome NATO’s outreach in Asia. They don’t want a replica of bloc confrontation in Asia. And they certainly will not allow any Cold War or hot war to happen again in Asia.”