/ Asia / Pacific Issued on: 18/11/2022 – 07:18
French President Emmanuel Macron addresses the APEC CEO Summit during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Bangkok on November 18, 2022. © Ludovic Marin, AFP President Emmanuel Macron on Friday urged an end to “confrontation” as he outlined his vision for France’s engagement with the Asia-Pacific region.
Macron is attending the 21-strong Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Bangkok as he seeks to relaunch France’s strategy for the region in the face of growing US-China competition.
France wants to play a stabilising role in the region to avert confrontation, the French president told a gathering of business leaders on the sidelines of the summit.
“We don’t believe in hegemony, we don’t believe in confrontation, we believe in stability,” Macron said.
He said regional powers including France — which has overseas territories in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, including Reunion, New Caledonia and French Polynesia — should play a role.
“We are in the jungle and we have two big elephants, trying to become more and more nervous,” Macron said in his speech, which he gave in English.
“If they become very nervous and start war it will be a big problem for the rest of the jungle. You need cooperation of a lot of other animals: tigers, monkeys, and so on.”
Macron said the international community was facing overlapping crises, from climate change to economic turmoil, and a coordinated response was needed.
“Our Indo-Pacific strategy is how to provide dynamic balance in this environment,” he said.
“How to provide precisely a sort of stability and equilibrium which could not be the hegemony of one of those, could not be the confrontation of the two major powers.”
On Russia’s war in Ukraine, which he identified as a major source of global instability, he said all countries in Asia and elsewhere needed to recognise their duty to act.
France was working to build “an increasing consensus in order to say this war is also your problem because it will create a lot of destabilisation”, Macron said.