Macron sparks fury after 'turning blind eye' to China with new affront to Nato

French President Macron holds a new crisis meeting after third night of riots

French President Macron holds a new crisis meeting after third night of riots

Jack Walters

By Jack Walters

Published: 08/07/2023

- 10:20

The French President has been criticised for blocking the creation of an Asian outpost for the military bloc

Emmanuel Macron has sparked fury by “turning a blind eye” to the growing threat from China after rejecting the opening of Nato’s first office in Asia.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation hoped to create a liaison bureau in Tokyo following secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg’s visit to Japan in January.

However, Macron torpedoed the proposal amid concern about growing tensions between the West and China.

Philipe Setton, France’s ambassador to Japan, added: “Although we do not support the opening of a Tokyo office, we do believe it is important to strengthen the cooperative relationship between Nato and Japan.”

China insists Russia is 'most important strategic partner' despite fury over Ukraine warPresident of the People's Republic of China Xi JinpingReuters

Japan is not a member of Nato but the bloc recently vowed to strengthen its dialogue and cooperation with its allies in the Indo-Pacific region.

Tokyo has maintained a diplomatic silence following Macron’s decision.

However, the Japanese Government is reportedly deeply disappointed in private.

Japan is expected to use the upcoming Nato summit in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius to continue to lobby for the new office.

\u200bPresident Macron photographed in Marseille

President Macron photographed in Marseille


Despite Tokyo keeping quiet about Macron’s decision, the conservative Sankei newspaper declared: “France shares responsibility for peace and stability in the world.

“As its leader, President Macron should not cower before China.”

The editorial added that if France “adopts a policy of turning a blind eye to the growing Chinese threat, it will throw the unified position of the Group of Seven industrialised nations into disarray”.

France faced similar criticism following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg holds news conference in Brussels

NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg holds news conference in Brussels


The United Kingdom is the second largest provider of military assistance after the United States with some £6.5billion in military, economic and humanitarian support.

In contrast, France’s Europe Minister Catherine Colonna confirmed last August that Paris' support for Ukraine amounted to €2 billion.

The bureau debacle has led some in Tokyo to fear European nations could be even less inclined to support Taiwan against a potential Chinese invasion.

Japan hopes closer ties with Nato can help dissuade Beijing from launching an attack.

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