BANGKOK - French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday called Russia’s invasion of Ukraine a threat to the peace and stability needed for the world to pursue sustainable growth, saying France was trying to muster collective pressure to bring Russia to the table and end the “neo-colonial war”.
“I can understand that for some leaders of this world… this war seems to be very far,” he said at a business forum held on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit in Bangkok.
He acknowledged that the Asia-Pacific region was also grappling with other tensions, like those in the Korean peninsula and the escalating rivalry between the United States and China.
But Russia’s aggression was conducted “against international rules” and if accepted, would amount to “the end of stability for all of us”, he warned.
“There is no stability in peace, except the one based on this international order,” he said at the Apec CEO Summit.
Mr Macron said France was focusing its energies on working with countries like China and India to create a consensus and bring Russia back to peace negotiations.
The Russia-Ukraine war has caused a surge in food and fuel prices around the world, deepening the hardship faced by the most vulnerable. It has also thrown a spanner in the works of multilateral organisations like Apec, with disagreements over this issue preventing traditional joint statements from being forged.
Regional leaders are now in discussion at the Apec Economic Leaders’ Meeting, which ends on Saturday.
France is not part of the 21-member Apec, but Mr Macron is attending the event as a special guest of Thailand, which is hosting the event.
The French President also tackled the subject of US-China rivalry, warning that it was fragmenting the global order on which the region’s prosperity was based.
“Your prosperity was based on the fact that we have common global rules,” he said, adding that multilateral agencies have started to malfunction because of the tensions between the two superpowers. He likened the situation to having two agitated elephants in the jungle.
“If they become very nervous, they start a war, it will become a problem for the rest of the jungle.”
France’s Indo-Pacific strategy is to provide a “dynamic balance”, to try to create some kind of stability which is not “the hegemony of one” or “the confrontation of the two major powers”, Mr Macron added.
“We have to fight hard against the creation of several (multilateral systems), because the end game is that we have this fragmentation of this world.”