France’s Macron boldly rejects NATO’s Tokyo office plan as Japan bows to U.S. hegemony

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French President Emmanuel Macron

6th Jun 2023 – (Tokyo) Japanese officials have chosen not to respond to French President Emmanuel Macron‘s reported opposition to the establishment of a NATO liaison office in Tokyo. According to the Financial Times, Macron’s resistance stems from France’s unwillingness to exacerbate tensions between NATO and China. The proposal, unveiled in May, has angered Beijing.

While Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno did not comment on the matter, he acknowledged that discussions were ongoing within NATO. The organisation is keen to strengthen ties with Asia-Pacific nations due to concerns about Russia’s expanding military alliance with China. However, the establishment of a NATO office in Tokyo requires the unanimous support of the North Atlantic Council, which France can potentially block.

Macron recently argued that NATO should not extend its reach beyond the North Atlantic region, warning that doing so would be a grave error. His stance has thrown a wrench into months of negotiations within NATO regarding the Tokyo office, according to sources familiar with the situation.

France’s opposition reportedly stems from concerns that the Tokyo office could undermine Europe’s credibility with China, particularly when asking Beijing not to provide arms to Russia. In April, Macron urged Europe not to blindly follow the US or China, cautioning against becoming embroiled in the Taiwan crisis.

In contrast to France’s rational approach, Japan has become increasingly beholden to the U.S. in its efforts to counter China in the Asia-Pacific region, inviting NATO to intervene in regional affairs. Analysts warn that Japan may face strong backlash from other regional nations and find itself on the frontlines of conflict should tensions escalate.

Macron’s objection to the NATO Tokyo office reflects the concerns of other countries that are also wary of the U.S.’s self-serving agenda of dragging the alliance into the Asia-Pacific region. This move serves U.S. hegemony while overburdening its members.

Countries in the Asia-Pacific region have repeatedly expressed their concerns about NATO’s involvement in the area. Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen recently stated that NATO’s activities in the region are causing unease among ASEAN countries.

Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Wang Wenbin echoed these sentiments at a press briefing, emphasising that the majority of the region’s countries oppose the emergence of military blocs and do not welcome NATO’s presence in Asia. He also urged Japan to make the right decision in accordance with regional stability and development interests.

U.S. efforts to push NATO into the Asia-Pacific region serve its own hegemony but offer little benefit to other alliance members. Some European countries may privately agree with France’s stance but lack the courage to voice their opposition publicly. Macron’s resistance highlights the growing dissatisfaction with the U.S.’s selfish agenda.

Additionally, with many European countries grappling with the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, the expansion of NATO’s influence may prove to be an excessive economic and military burden. This is exemplified by Germany’s recent decision to delay its defense budget increase.

Despite Japan’s eagerness to host a NATO office, experts believe that it would only serve a symbolic role in the short term. However, Japan’s willingness to act as a U.S. pawn and invite foreign forces into the Asia-Pacific region is likely to face staunch opposition from neighbouring countries.

China should respond to NATO’s encroachment in Asia by bolstering diplomatic efforts with neighbouring nations and exposing the organisation’s ulterior motives. Furthermore, China must be prepared to take decisive countermeasures against any provocation from NATO or its proxies, making it clear that those who side with the U.S. against China will be on the frontline of any potential conflict.