Macron visits the Netherlands after comments from Taiwan make waves
AMSTERDAM (AP) – French President Emmanuel Macron begins a two-day state visit to the Netherlands on Tuesday and delivers a speech on his vision for the future of Europe.
“The question we as Europeans must answer is: Is it in our interest to hasten (a crisis) on Taiwan? No,” Macron was quoted as saying in an interview published in French newspaper Les Echos and Politico Europe on Sunday.
“The worst thing would be to think that we Europeans will have to follow the US agenda and a Chinese overreaction on this issue.”
The comments raise questions about whether Macron’s views align with the European Union’s position and whether the bloc of 27 is capable of becoming the “third superpower” that Macron says he hopes to build within “a few years.”
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The interview came on Friday, before China launched large-scale combat exercises around Taiwan simulating a lockdown on the island in response to the Taiwanese president’s trip to the United States last week. Macron and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen visited Beijing for talks last week and called on Chinese leader Xi Jinping to “bring some sense” to Russia over its war in Ukraine.
He emphasized the concept of “strategic autonomy” for Europe, which he has been promoting for years. He warned of what he called a “trap” that would result in the bloc being “embroiled in crises that are not ours.”
China and Taiwan split after a civil war in 1949, and the government in Beijing says the island has an obligation to rejoin the mainland by force if necessary.
Macron’s trip to Amsterdam and The Hague is the first state visit by a French leader since Jacques Chirac 23 years ago and underscores the close ties between the Netherlands and France and the two heads of state.
Upon arrival in Amsterdam, Macron is scheduled to lay a wreath at the National Monument near the Royal Palace in the historic heart of the city. He later travels to The Hague to meet the leaders of both chambers of the Dutch Parliament before delivering his speech.
In the evening, Macron and his wife Brigitte attend a banquet in Amsterdam hosted by King Willem-Alexander.
On Wednesday, Macron visits a science park in Amsterdam and holds talks with Prime Minister Mark Rutte before visiting the Rijksmuseum’s blockbuster exhibition of paintings by Dutch master Johannes Vermeer.
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