By Eryk Bagshaw April 10, 2023 — 7.30pm
In the autumn of 2018, as the sun set on Sydney Harbour, President Emmanuel Macron announced France’s Indo-Pacific strategy before dozens of sailors on HMAS Canberra. It was a landmark moment, the first time a European power had made a substantial policy intervention in Australia’s neighbourhood, designed to put the security of the region “at the heart of global issues”.
On Sunday, Macron revealed doubts about the commitment he had made. The two-term French president and de facto leader of Europe warned against the continent getting “caught up in crises that are not ours” after a whirlwind tour of China where he was given a rock star welcome and described as a “bosom friend” by Xi Jinping, the Chinese president who has repeatedly threatened to take Taiwan by force if necessary.