The French President was reportedly unsold on some sections of a joint statement issued at the end of the NATO Summit on Monday. Mr Macron, who backed the US-led NATO stance regardless, stressed China has little to do with NATO and should not be the focus of the alliance.
He said: “NATO is a North Atlantic organisation, China has nothing to do with the North Atlantic.
“We shouldn’t bias our relationship with China — it is much larger than just the military.
“We shouldn’t distract away from the many challenges we have within NATO.”
NATO leaders warned on Monday that China presents “systemic challenges,” taking a forceful stance towards Beijing in a communique at Joe Biden’s first summit with an alliance that Donald Trump openly disparaged.
The new US president has urged his fellow NATO leaders to stand up to China’s authoritarianism and growing military might, a change of focus for an alliance created to defend Europe from the Soviet Union during the Cold War.
The statement read: “China’s stated ambitions and assertive behaviour present systemic challenges to the rules-based international order and to areas relevant to alliance security.”
In response, China’s mission to the European Union urged NATO on Tuesday to stop exaggerating the “China threat theory”.
They said the NATO statement “slandered” China’s peaceful development, misjudged the international situation, and indicated a “Cold War mentality”.
They added China is always committed to peaceful development.
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German Chancellor Angela Merkel also said it was important to deal with China as a potential threat, while keeping it in perspective.
She said: “If you look at the cyber threats and the hybrid threats, if you look at the cooperation between Russia and China, you cannot simply ignore China.
“But one must not overrate it, either – we need to find the right balance.”
She added that it was “very clear that Russia, above all, is the major challenge”.
She continued: “China is playing an increasing role, as is the entire Indo-Pacific region.
“But I don’t think we should overstate the importance of this.
“Of course, we are also following the hybrid actions of both Russia and China, and we see new challenges in this as well.
“That’s why it’s important that we coordinate more politically.”