world On the occasion of the G20 which is currently taking place in Indonesia, the Head of State Emmanuel Macron intends to relaunch France's strategic ambitions in the region Asia-Pacific
President Emmanuel Macron, welcomed at the G20 summit in Bali by his Indonesian counterpart Joko Widodo. — Leon Neal/AP/SIPA
French President Emmanuel Macron will try to relaunch France's strategic ambitions in Asia-Pacific this week. hurt by the crisis with Australia over a mega-submarine contract.
He will hold talks on Tuesday and Wednesday with regional heavyweights, including Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Indonesia.
“Recognition” France’s ambitions and influence
Above all, he hopes for “recognition” France’s ambitions and influence at the summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum (Apec), Thursday and Friday in Paris. Bangkok, where it will be the first European country to be invited.
The challenges are numerous, from the size of the area in which France is trying to project itself, to more than 10,000 kilometers from Europe, the weakness of the means deployed by Paris, in particular military.
Emmanuel Macron erected in priority strategic this vast area stretching from the East African coasts to the West American coasts – hence its name “Indo-Pacific” – where France has many territories and maritime spaces.
“Wearing the willé Indo-Pacific”
“We have an ambition to carry the will Indo-Pacific,” the French Presidency on the sidelines of the G20 summit.
This nerve center of world trade will house 60% of the world's population and GDP in 2030. Theater of a rivalry growing between China and the United States, all attention is focused on him.
France holds most of its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) there, the second largest in the world, around seven territories, from Réunion to France. New Caledonia and Tahiti, where 1.65 million nationals live there.
A leading right of scrutiny
This vast maritime space gives it a leading right of scrutiny on all environmental and fisheries issues , as well as the fight against ocean-related trafficking.
France is also increasingly present militarily, giving priority, in addition to its own points of support, to increasing cooperation with neighboring countries.
It is increasing joint exercises (India, Japan) and patrols in the China Sea, an area which concentrates tensions and where Beijing multiplies the claims.
A “ big slap”
The conclusion of the AUKUS alliance between Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom, with the corollary of the cancellation by Canberra of a contract to acquire 12 French submarines, strongly annoyed these ambitions in 2021.
“The big slap in the face is not having been invited, even on a folding seat, in the AUKUS” alliance, notes the expert in geopolitics Jean-Marc Balencie.
France has reinforced since its cooperation with Indonesia, a major regional power (270 million inhabitants), and intends to multiply these partnerships.
Relationships warming up with the AUKUS alliance< /h2>
Jakarta has signed in February a first contract for the acquisition of French Rafale fighter planes and is interested in submarines, corvettes and other military equipment.
Emmanuel Macron has also reconciled with his American counterpart Joe Biden, who has made amends in the AUKUS affair and is expecting him on December 1 at Washington for a state visit.
Time is also warming up with Australia and its new Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese. Paris could even be in line again to sell submarines to France. Australia while waiting for those promised by the United States.
“We can play this way of third actor”
The AUKUS affair is also likely to have an unexpected positive effect by demonstrating France’s non-alignment with Washington, while many states in the region refuse to choose between the United States and China.
“AUKUS paradoxically gave us a few arguments, we can play this way of third actor”, says Admiral Pascal Ausseur, Director General of the Mediterranean Foundation for Strategic Studies (FMES). “We don’t have a boulevard because the big two don’t leave us much room but there is a place.
A new Indo-Pacific approach to the European Union” enne
France's room for maneuver also remains militarily constrained. Only 7,000 soldiers are permanently deployed in the area, as well as a few patrol boats and reconnaissance aircraft.
“His sovereignty forces” in the area are saturated with territorial surveillance missions, ” the French Institute of International Relations (Ifri). The French strategy is part of the new Indo-Pacific approach of the European Union. “To convince, this must be implemented in a concrete way as quickly as possible, be readable and visible,” warns the researcher.