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Recently, French President Emmanuel Macron denied the establishment of a NATO office in Tokyo, which has aroused widespread concern in the world. According to reports: Speaking at a conference, Macron said NATO should not expand its tentacles beyond the North Atlantic region, adding: “If … we push NATO to expand its scope and geographical area, we will make a big mistake .” This statement caused an uproar, and more importantly: it actually complicates and certainly does not go smoothly for NATO to establish an office in Tokyo.
But objectively speaking, France does have the ability to ground NATO’s entry into Asia. On the one hand, this is because the North Atlantic Council, the decision-making body of NATO, adopts the principle of unanimity in voting; on the other hand, French diplomacy is actually a dual foreign minister system, and the French government and the French president each have a diplomatic team. This reality also makes it not easy for NATO to enter the Asian station.
France can veto NATO resolution
Judging from the voting methods of the North Atlantic Council, the decision-making body of NATO, and France’s military strength and political status in NATO, France is fully capable of vetoing the resolution of NATO agencies to enter Asia.
First of all, judging from the decision-making voting method of the North Atlantic Council, the decision-making body implements the principle of “unanimous agreement”, that is, for any decision-making of NATO, all 30 member states of NATO must agree, and as long as there is one vote against it, the decision cannot be made. Pass, let alone a European power like France. Therefore, fundamentally speaking, under the background of the current close economic and trade relationship between China and Europe, this kind of decision-making mechanism is difficult to operate on issues involving China. Moreover, from a geographical point of view, China and NATO have no conflict of interest .
Of course, if the United States goes to NATO to do work, it may play a certain role, but this will not have much effect on small countries, and most NATO countries are small countries. Because small countries are different from big countries like France. They have a special sense of responsibility for NATO. At the same time, they have a lot of concerns when considering issues and need to look forward and backward. Once such a small country is determined to resolutely oppose it, the United States will not be as effective in restraining such a country as it is against a big country. Method.
In addition, France’s military strength is second only to the United States in NATO, and it often ranks first in Europe. It is a very important military force that NATO must rely on in Europe. In particular: France places great emphasis on the independence of its own national defense. It has the most complete defense industry research and development system in Europe. Most of the key weapons have achieved independent research and development and independent production. Moreover, France has land-based missiles, submarine-launched The nuclear trinity of airborne missiles is completely independent. Against such a background, France has a great say in NATO member states, and this will inevitably bring extensive political influence to France.
A French diplomatic authority once told the author: “Don’t look at the NATO secretary-general’s bluff every day, he also works (for the United States), but if he offends France, he will definitely lose his job!”
Therefore, on the issue of NATO’s establishment of an office in Tokyo, France’s influence is beyond doubt, and it is fully capable of vetoing this action.
In terms of France’s consideration of NATO’s establishment of an office in Tokyo, the Chinese factor is undoubtedly very important. According to international media reports, an unnamed French official said last week that the French government’s hesitation about “NATO going to Asia” largely stems from its relationship with China, because according to its commitment, (NATO) should take Activities are limited to the North Atlantic framework. We cannot ask China not to break the rules of military aid to Russia on the one hand, and on the other hand “broke the contract” in this matter to stimulate China.
This conversation shows that France and China have a consensus on the direction of NATO’s development, and they may even have made “commitments” and agreements.
Countries with dual foreign ministers
The reason why NATO’s establishment of an office in Tokyo may be stranded is also related to the management mechanism of French diplomacy. France actually implements a system similar to the “dual foreign ministers” system, that is, the French government has a foreign ministry, and the foreign minister is in charge of diplomatic work; There is a staff to serve this position, the “presidential foreign affairs adviser” and the foreign minister and directly serve the president’s diplomatic work at the same time. Under this mechanism, the president himself has considerable control over diplomacy.
According to the French diplomatic authority, the position of “French President’s foreign affairs adviser” often has a huge impact on the French president’s diplomacy, especially at the level of French foreign policy, and its influence is sometimes greater than that of the foreign minister, especially on China issues.
The author once met a “foreign affairs adviser to the French president” who spoke better Chinese than the author, and it was obvious that the French foreign ministry officials who accompanied him to meet with the author were full of respect for this “foreign affairs adviser”.
It is noteworthy that Wang Yi, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China and director of the Foreign Affairs Office of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, said in a phone call with the French President’s foreign affairs adviser Bonne on June 5, “President Macron’s recent important statements on international multilateral platforms reflect the French China appreciates China‘s independent diplomatic tradition, and European countries are also more active in conducting dialogue and contact with China.
The report also said: Wang Yi believes that France will continue to pursue a rational and positive policy towards China and play a constructive role in the healthy and stable development of China-EU relations. Think about cooperation, less rely on opponents, and work together to provide more stability for the world.
Apparently, the information that “reflects the French independent diplomatic tradition” and believes that “France will continue to pursue a rational and positive policy toward China” shows that this “call at appointment” is related to the establishment of NATO’s office in Tokyo, and China is influencing the French government. decision.
On the other hand, the Chinese foreign minister did not talk to the French foreign minister, which shows that China is following the diplomatic track of the two heads of state on this issue, which leads to greater power of the “presidential foreign affairs adviser”.
International media reported that: Sources pointed out that unless NATO broadly opposes their expansion policy, these very few factions will easily be forced to compromise in the end. However, public opinion has commented on this: “Even if Macron is unable to change the result in the end, his resolute refusal will at least make it more difficult for NATO to establish an office in Japan, and at the same time send a clear signal to NATO: If more aggressive operations in Asia There will be even greater opposition to this move, and not all major European countries are willing to follow the United States into the Asia-Pacific.”
Obviously, as far as the current Sino-French relations are concerned, it is Macron who is influencing the “presidential foreign affairs adviser”, or they are influencing each other.
(Note: The author is a policy researcher. This article only represents the author’s personal views. The editor’s email address is firstname.lastname@example.org)