Macron opposes NATO's plan to open office in Japan: Report

Expansion of alliance's geographical scope beyond North Atlantic region ‘will be a big mistake,’ warns French president

Gizem Taskin Nicollet  | 06.06.2023 - Update : 06.06.2023
Macron opposes NATO's plan to open office in Japan: Report


French President Emmanuel Macron reportedly voiced his objections to NATO's plans to establish an office in Japan, which would be the first of its kind in Asia, aimed at facilitating consultations in the region.

The Financial Times reported on Monday that Macron, during a news conference last week, warned against the expansion of NATO's geographical scope beyond the North Atlantic region, stating that "we will make a big mistake."

In January, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg reached an agreement to enhance their partnership. They acknowledged that Russia's invasion of Ukraine and its military collaboration with China have created “the most severe and complex security environment since the end of World War II.”

Kishida said in May that Japan had no intention of becoming a member of NATO but acknowledged the alliance’s proposal to establish an office in Japan.

Following his remarks, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning warned that “NATO’s eastward push and interference in the Asia Pacific matters will definitely undermine regional peace and stability.”

According to a source familiar with the situation, as reported by the FT, Macron expressed its reluctance to endorse any actions that would further escalate tensions between the alliance and China.

During his China visit in April, Macron emphasized the need for Europe to decrease its reliance on the US and avoid being pulled into a potential clash between China and the US regarding Taiwan.

“The paradox would be that, overcome with panic, we believe we are just America’s followers,” Macron said.

Establishing a new NATO office would require unanimous agreement from all members of the North Atlantic Council.

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