French President Macron rejects ‘American rhythm’ on Taiwan, nods to China’s ‘unity’

President Emmanuel Macron, following a trip to Beijing in which he met with Chinese President Xi Jinping, said in a new interview Sunday he does not believe Europe should follow the “American rhythm” on Taiwan. “We don’t want to get into a bloc versus bloc logic,” Macron said in an interview for French business daily Les Echo, arguing that Europe “should not be caught up in a disordering of the world and crises that aren’t ours.” “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. “Why should we go at a rhythm chosen by someone else?”

“As Europeans, our concern is our unity,” Macron added, according to German broadcaster Deutsche Welle. “The Chinese are also concerned with their unity, and Taiwan is a component [of this unity] from their point of view.” Macron, facing domestic turmoil amid large scale demonstrations over pension reforms, traveled to China last week with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in a show of European unity with Beijing.

Macron, who reportedly spoke to reporters of establishing “strategic autonomy” and making France a “third pole” superpower on equal grounds as the U.S. and China, rather than becoming a “vassal” of other states, planned to urge Xi in talks Thursday to use Beijing’s influence with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In a speech to French residents of China, Macron said he would “try to build, and somehow engage China toward a shared responsibility for peace and stability on international issues,” including Ukraine, Iran and North Korea. Meanwhile, China’s military declared Monday it is “ready to fight” after completing three days of large-scale combat exercises around Taiwan that simulated sealing off the island. The drills came in response to Taiwanese President’s Tsai Ing-wen’s trip to the U.S. last week when she met with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in California.

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, urged more weapon sales to Taiwan to help deter any Chinese invasion. “They’re not where they need to be. If we want deference for peace, we need to get these weapons into Taiwan,” McCaul said, according to News Nation. “I sign off on all foreign military weapons sales. Twenty-two weapons systems over three years ago checked that have yet to get into Taiwan, into the island. That will provide deterrence to Chairman Xi to think twice about an invasion.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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