France issues warning over US-China feud

The international community must help decrease tensions between Washington and Beijing, the French president says

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Tackling the main problems faced by humanity will be “impossible” without cooperation between the US and China, French President Emmanuel Macron has said.

In an interview with CNN on Monday, Macron stressed the need to reduce conflict, to enable countries work together on major challenges.

“For me, the top priority of the global agenda is trying to fix the existing crises, fighting against the inequality and poverty, and fixing climate change and biodiversity… I would add to this building a common regulation on AI,” he argued.

Those are “the key challenges of the decades to come, but especially this decade,” the French president added.

“To deliver this agenda, we need cooperation and, especially, we need cooperation between China and the US. If there’s no agreement between China and the US on all these topics it’s impossible to build a global agenda and to fix these issues,” Macron concluded.

He noted that the Paris Agreement on climate change was signed in 2015 “because President Xi [Jinping] and President [Barack] Obama found an agreement a few months before.”

“I think for the critical elements where you will increase divisions, and conflictuality, and tensions between China and the US, we should try to moderate them, to find a way to… decrease tensions,” the French president argued.

Last week, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken made a long-delayed visit to China in an attempt to defuse tensions over American support for Taiwan, the Chinese balloon incident in February, and other issues.

Blinken claimed that during his trip that he managed to achieve “progress” towards putting US relations with China back on track. He also promised that Washington would “responsibly manage” differences and make sure its competition with Beijing “does not veer into conflict.”

However, some of that progress appears to have been undone by US President Joe Biden, who labeled his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping a “dictator” just a day after Blinken’s return from Beijing.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry accused the US leader of “an open political provocation,” saying the “extremely absurd” comment by Biden “seriously violated China’s political dignity.” US ambassador in Beijing Nicholas Burns was also reportedly summoned, and delivered an official reprimand.

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