Macron said France still backed the “status quo” on Taiwan and stressed that his country will not follow American hardliners into a conflict with China.
The French president made the remarks at a press conference in Amsterdam with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte as he wrapped up a state visit to the Netherlands.
“Being an ally does not mean being a vassal… doesn’t mean that we don’t have the right to think for ourselves,” he noted.
“France is for the status quo in Taiwan” and a “peaceful resolution to the situation.”
Macron, who visited China last week, said French and European policy on Taiwan “has not changed” despite the furor over his remarks in which he backed Europe’s strategic autonomy.
After the visit, Macron said “the great risk” Europe face is that it gets “caught up in crises that are not ours, which prevents it from building its strategic autonomy”, urging European leaders to focus on staying out of a potential conflict between Washington and Beijing over Taiwan.
“If the tensions between the two superpowers heat up … we won’t have the time nor the resources to finance our strategic autonomy and we will become vassals,” he warned, urging his fellow European leaders to become self-reliant.
Macron’s remarks on Taiwan drew praise as “brilliant” in China — which rejects US support of what it sees as a breakaway province — but raised eyebrows among Western allies.
Former US president Donald Trump hit back at the French president over the Taiwan remarks. However, Macron replied that he had “nothing to say about the comments by Trump because he is taking part in this escalation”.
The US does not recognize Taiwan as a country and officially supports the “One China” policy, but continues to antagonize Beijing by siding with Taipei’s secessionist administration.
Washington also engages in frequent military missions around the island, and serving as its largest weapons supplier.
The island has become China’s most sensitive territorial issue and a major bone of contention with Washington.