U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is in Paris to meet French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and president Emmanuel Macron’s national security advisor as the Biden administration seeks to repair damage to relations caused by alienating America’s oldest ally from a new Indo-Pacific security initiative and countering China’s growing clout.
The Biden administration has acknowledged that last month’s announcement of AUKUS was handled poorly but suggested that France’s rage an overreaction.
French officials called it a stab in the back by allies and have said it will take much time and work to overcome. France has also said it underscores the need for Europe to develop its own security and defense plans.
Ahead of Tuesday’s meetings, Le Drian’s office said it involves “the interests of all Europeans regarding the functioning of our alliances and the engagement of Europeans in the Indo-Pacific.”
Ahead of his visit, his second to France, as secretary of state but first since the rupture, Blinken met Friday with French Ambassador Philippe Etienne on his return to Washington after having been recalled to Paris by Macron.
The ostensible reason for Blinken’s trip to France, which had been planned well before the AUKUS ruckus, is to co-chair a ministerial meeting of the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development on Tuesday and Wednesday about climate change and security.
(With agency inputs)