Politics. G20, “Indo-Pacific” … Macron flies to Asia this Sunday

French President Emmanuel Macron embarks on a long tour of Asia this Sunday, from the G20 summit in Bali to the APEC summit in Bangkok, where his presence will showcase France’s anchor and strategic ambitions in the Indo-Pacific. .

G20 without Russia

In a chain of international succession, after the UN in New York in September, Mr Macron sets out to sea to meet his peers from the world’s major economic powers and the Asia-Pacific.

It will continue next Saturday with the 18th Francophonie Summit in Djerba, Tunis, where there will be an opportunity to discuss “progress” and “ways of future cooperation” with our partners, according to Elise.

Before that, Ukraine will be at the center of G20, or rather G19, discussions on Tuesday and Wednesday in Bali, Indonesia, and Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has finally backed down after a long wait, is expected to be absent.

On Friday, the French presidency explained that Paris “expects a clear message from the Club of 20” as soon as possible against Russia, which must enter into the logic of escalation.

A number of G20 countries, such as China and India, have so far been cautious, refusing to condemn Russia’s attack on Ukraine or implicitly express reservations as the conflict continues.

The French president, who arrived in Bali on Monday evening, will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday, as well as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Indonesian President Joko Widodo.

“Historical Invitation”

The bilateral meeting with US President Joe Biden “has not been formalized at this stage”. However, Mr. Macron is expected to make a state visit to the White House on December 1.

The French presidency has also not specified whether it will exchange with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, who was excluded from the meeting by Joe Biden after OPEC+’s favorable decision for Russia.

Emmanuel Macron will then travel to Bangkok on Thursday and Friday to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit, where France will be the first European country to be invited.

Apec unites 21 countries, from China, South Korea, Malaysia and Vietnam to Canada, the United States and Chile.

This “historic” invitation is an indication of the “recognition” of our “Indo-Pacific agenda” by the countries of the zone, the French presidency believes.

Emmanuel Macron has made this vast area, stretching from the East African coast to the American West coast, a strategic priority, where France has many territories and maritime territories.

All eyes are on the growing competition between China and the United States, which will account for 60% of the world’s population and GDP in 2030, this nerve center of world trade.

“minimum service”

France has most of its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) there, the second largest in the world, seven territories from Reunion to New Caledonia, home to 1.65 million citizens.

CĂ©line Pajon, coordinator of the Institute’s Oceania and Central Asia program, points out: “It is ultimately a question of protecting France’s interests and maneuverability in the context of a confrontation between Chinese and American behemoths.” .

For this, Paris uses a number of military, diplomatic and economic levers and establishes privileged relations with some of the main countries of the region: India, Japan, Indonesia.

France also intends to be active in the protection of the seabed, the climate crisis and the fight against biodiversity.

However, with only 7,000 troops in such a large area, it also remains severely limited in resources. Admiral Pascal Ausseur, director general of the Foundation for Mediterranean Strategic Studies (FMES), believes that “today it is in a state of minimal service”.

Australia’s alliance with the United States and Great Britain in 2021 and Canberra’s cancellation of a mega-contract for French submarines also hit Emmanuel Macron’s strategy in the region.

But Paris is trying to restore ties after a change of prime minister in Canberra in May. And it could be lining up again to sell submarines to Australia.

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