The Strategist

FT: France does not support opening NATO office in Japan

06/06/2023 - 09:46

French President Emmanuel Macron has objected to NATO’s proposal to establish a presence in Tokyo. The office might be the alliance's first representative in the Indo-Pacific area, but sources told the newspaper that France's stance has complicated a conversation that has been going on within NATO for months.

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According to the Financial Times, the U.S. and Japan have pushed Europe to take a more active role in Asian security matters in light of concerns over a potential conflict between China and Taiwan. A French FT source says that NATO is obligated by its charter to confine its domain to the North Atlantic.

Opening of NATO’s office in Tokyo could erode China's trust in Europe in light of the situation in Ukraine, particularly the EU's appeals not to supply Russia with armaments. Another source claimed that France did not want to back any ideas that would "increase tension between NATO and China."

The French president told the Financial Times last week that NATO should not branch out beyond the North Atlantic. "If we push NATO to expand its spectrum and geography, we will make a big mistake," Macron said.