PARIS/BEIJING – French President Emmanuel Macron’s visit this week to China where he praised Beijing and criticized the unilateral policies of US President Donald Trump suggests that the United States risks being sidelined on the global stage under Trump, according to an analysis by the Associated Press.
“Macron portrayed himself as an envoy for the whole European Union, conveying the message that the bloc has largely given up on Trump, who doesn’t hide his disdain for multilateralism,” AP said in its report on Thursday.
When Macron wants to convey European concerns to the world stage to find solutions for climate change, trade tensions or the Iran nuclear agreement, he no longer calls Washington, and instead flies to Beijing, AP added.
France and China issued a “Beijing call” on Wednesday for increased global cooperation in fighting climate change and better protecting biodiversity, just as the Trump administration formally launched the process of pulling out of the 2015 Paris climate agreement.
“One country’s isolated choice can’t change the course of the world. It only leads to marginalization,” Macron stated.
Chinese President Xi Jinping noted that the two leaders were sending “a strong signal to the world about steadfastly upholding multilateralism and free trade, as well as working together to build open economies”.
Macron had an ambitious agenda during his second visit to China, including establishing a joint stance on reforming the World Trade Organization (WTO), fighting climate change and saving the nuclear agreement with Iran, which the Europeans are trying to save.
After Trump pulled the US out of the 2015 nuclear accord, France and China reiterated their support for the hard-fought nuclear deal both countries had helped negotiate with Iran, according to the AP.
“Strong multilateralism is more efficient than shrill unilateralism,” Macron said, adding, “China and France are together with the Europeans and Russians.”
Eswar Prasad, a Cornell University economist and former head of the International Monetary Fund’s China division, said Trump has eroded America’s influence around the world and Washington is now seen by other countries as an untrustworthy partner.
“The Trump administration’s antipathy to multilateralism, its repudiation of many international agreements, and hostility toward even longstanding allies have all eroded US economic and geopolitical influence,” Prasad told the AP.
“The US is now seen by other countries as an unreliable and untrustworthy partner, leaving them to maneuver around the US by striking bilateral and multilateral deals that protect and advance their own interests,” Prasad stated.