French President Emmanuel Macron has warned Europe against following the US or China's stance on Taiwan, urging the continent to avoid being caught up in "crises that aren't ours".
His remarks could provoke tensions in the US and reveal disagreements among EU members on how to engage with China, even as America intensifies conflict with China and the latter aligns with Russia following the Ukraine conflict.
"The worst thing would be to think that we Europeans must be followers and adapt ourselves to the American rhythm and a Chinese overreaction," Macron was quoted as saying in an interview to business daily Les Echos on Sunday by news agency AFP.
Macron's statement comes after he returned on Friday from a three-day state visit to Beijing.
The French leader emphasised on EU's "strategic autonomy", highlighting the need for a European strategy in areas of contention with the US such as Ukraine, relations with China, and sanctions.
He cautioned against a bloc versus bloc mentality in Europe and encouraged avoiding involvement in global crises that do not pertain to them.
"We don't want to get into a bloc versus bloc logic," he added, saying Europe "should not be caught up in a disordering of the world and crises that aren't ours".
China considers democratic, self-ruled Taiwan its territory and has vowed to take it one day.
After Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen met with US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, China conducted military exercises around Taiwan, including simulated strikes on its territory, right after French President Macron left China.
During his trip to China, Macron talked about Taiwan with Xi Jinping, while Ursula von der Leyen, who is more critical, was kept at a distance by the Chinese leader.
The French President's office described talks as "dense and frank", expressing concern over "growing tensions" in the region and the potential for "a terrible accident".
According to Macron, Taiwan is one of the issues that could escalate tensions between China and the US.
If the confrontation escalates too quickly, Europeans "won't have the time or the resources to finance our strategic autonomy and will become vassals, whereas we can build a third pole if we have a few years," he added.
Macron has sought to establish Europe as an independent geostrategic power, a goal that aligns with France's tradition of being a balancing force between Cold War blocs dating back to Charles de Gaulle's presidency.
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