Former President Donald Trump has accused French President Emmanuel Macron of pandering to Beijing after the former’s high-profile trip to China.
“You’ve got this crazy world that’s blowing up and the United States has absolutely no say. And Macron, who’s a friend of mine, is over with China kissing his [Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s] ass,” Trump, who during his administration hardened the U.S. stance on China, said in an interview with Fox News late on April 11.
The French leader has sparked anger for calling on the European Union to reduce dependence on the United States and actively avoid taking a stance against China’s aggression toward self-ruled Taiwan, which China’s communist party has long sought to take over.
“The question asked of us Europeans is the following: is it in our interest for there to be acceleration on the topic of Taiwan? No. The worst thing we Europeans could do would be to be followers on this topic and to adapt to the American rhythm and a Chinese overreaction,” he said in a French media interview on Sunday at the end of his three-day trip. “Why should we go at a rhythm chosen by someone else?”
“We, Europeans, must wake up. Our priority is not others’ agendas in all regions of the world,” he said.
Backlash over Macron’s comments have snowballed over the past few days.
“French President Macron’s comments are disheartening because the CCP’s threat to Taiwan is a growing danger to the global balance of power,” Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee who recently led a bipartisan delegation to Taiwan, told The Epoch Times.
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), speaks at a bipartisan news conference on the ongoing Afghanistan evacuations, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, on Aug. 25, 2021. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)
One of Macron’s stated goals is to “engage China toward a shared responsibility for peace” in Ukraine, he said ahead of the visit.
But “[w]hile France is supporting Ukraine in Russia’s unprovoked war of aggression, the realities of that war will help Xi determine his next move against Taiwan,” McCaul said.
‘Signal of Indifference’
Dozens of lawmakers from the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC), an international group of legislators pushing for a stronger China policy, have signed a statement expressing dismay.
“With Beijing ramping up military exercises in the South China Sea, and showing continuing support for Russian aggression in Ukraine, this is the worst possible moment to send a signal of indifference over Taiwan,” the lawmakers, including two from France, wrote on April 11.
They added that Macron’s words are “severely out of step with the feeling across Europe’s legislatures and beyond.”
“Monsieur le Président, you do not speak for Europe. IPAC will work to ensure that your remarks serve as a wake-up call to democratic governments to do everything possible to ensure that Beijing’s aggressive stance towards Taiwan receives the hostile reception it deserves from the international community.”
Chinas leader Xi Jinping (L) and French President Emmanuel Macron attend the official welcoming ceremony in Beijing, China, on April 6, 2023. (Ludovic Marin/AFP via Getty Images)
After Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen met with U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in California last week, the Chinese regime held a three-day military drill in the Taiwan Strait.
Upon concluding the “Joint Sword” exercises on Monday, the Chinese military’s Eastern Theater Command, responsible for contingencies involving Taiwan, issued a threat saying that its troops “can fight at any time to resolutely smash any form of ‘Taiwan independence’ and foreign interference attempts.”
Taiwan parliament speaker You Si-kun questioned France’s commitment to freedom after hearing Macron’s remarks.
“Are ‘liberté, égalité, fraternité’ out of fashion?” he wrote on Facebook above a screenshot of a report on Macron’s Taiwan comments, referring to the official French motto of “liberty, equality, fraternity.”
“Is it OK just to ignore this once it’s part of the Constitution? Or can advanced democratic countries ignore the lives and deaths of people in other countries?” said You, a co-founder of Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party. “The actions of President Macron, a leading international democracy, leave me puzzled.”
A Repudiation of the Biden Administration?
The “almost universal condemnation” that Macron faced upon his return has made it clear that Macron was “not speaking for Europe, and may not even be speaking for France,” said Gordon Chang, author of “The Coming Collapse of China” and senior fellow at the Gatestone Institute.
“I think that that is going to affect the way he looks at it,” he added.
While Macron was greeted with full red-carpet treatment and military parades during the state visit, his travel companion, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, was given the cold shoulder.
She was giving a press conference as Macron was enjoying a lavish state banquet with Chinese leader Xi Jinping, and absent while Xi welcomed the French president with smiles and a handshake on April 6.
“I think China overplayed its hand,” Chang said, noting that Beijing had treated Macron “like a king” and “snubbed” von der Leyen. “I think that’s going to have a long-term effect on the way that Europe views China, because it’s clear what happened here.”
Chang nonetheless considers Macron’s warm tone in interacting with Chinese leadership as a repudiation of the Biden administration.
“[President Joe] Biden said that he would reinvigorate America’s alliances. Well, France is America’s oldest ally, and what we heard was basically Macron turning his back on Biden,” he said.
The Epoch Times has reached out to the White House for comment.