A group of China-skeptic lawmakers from around the world criticized French President Emmanuel Macron’s “ill-judged remarks” on Taiwan, made in a recent interview with POLITICO.
Macron’s comments “not only disregard the vital place of Taiwan in the global economy, but undermines decades-long commitment of the international community to maintaining peace across the Taiwan Strait,” the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC) said Monday in a statement.
“It should be emphasized that the president’s words are severely out of step with the feeling across Europe’s legislatures and beyond,” read the statement, which was signed by lawmakers including 15 MPs from national legislatures in the EU — including one from Macron’s own party in France, as well as three MEPs and 13 U.K. parliamentarians.
The statement notes that Macron’s remarks are particularly ill-timed, amid ongoing military exercises by the Chinese military in the Taiwan Strait.
It comes after the French president suggested in an interview with POLITICO last week that Europe should not get dragged into a U.S.-China confrontation about Taiwan.
Macron said “the great risk” Europe faces is that it “gets caught up in crises that are not ours, which prevents it from building its strategic autonomy.”
“The question Europeans need to answer … is it in our interest to accelerate [a crisis] on Taiwan? No,” Macron said.
“The worse thing would be to think that we Europeans must become followers on this topic and take our cue from the U.S. agenda and a Chinese overreaction,” he added.
The French president’s comments unleashed a flurry of reactions on both sides of the Atlantic.
Mike Gallagher, the Republican chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party, called them “embarrassing” and “disgraceful,” while Norbert Röttgen, a German Christian Democrat MP and former head of the Bundestag’s foreign affairs committee, tweeted that Macron had “managed to turn his China trip into a PR coup for [Chinese President Xi Jinping] and a foreign policy disaster for Europe.”
IPAC is a group of lawmakers from 29 countries and the European Parliament which aims at “working towards reform on how democratic countries approach China,” including “developing a coherent response to [its] rise.”