Macron visits NASA, talks space cooperation at start of U.S. tour
Macron arrived in Washington on Tuesday for his second state visit to the United States since taking office in 2017. Having already dealt with the economic fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, he is expected to confront President Joe Biden over new U.S. subsidies that have stymied European leaders.
Macron’s first public appearance was at the US space agency’s headquarters with Vice President Kamala Harris, who said the two would discuss space cooperation and defense to tackle climate change.
Macron said space represented a “new site of conflict” and that it was important for France and the US to work together to set rules and standards, as they share a commitment to both scientific and democratic values.
“In space we have crazy soldiers, and we have rogues, and we have new hybrid attacks,” Macron said in English.
Harris and Macron announced the new US-French space cooperation at a meeting in Paris a year ago.
France joined the United States and other countries in rejecting the test of destructive, direct-launch anti-satellite missiles after Russia shot down one of its own satellites in orbit last year.
The United States, which demonstrated such a missile in 2008, first announced a test ban in April.
Macron’s visit came as NATO ministers met in Bucharest and pledged more aid to Ukraine to counter Russia’s attacks on energy infrastructure as winter sets in.
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said the alliance, of which the US and France are founding members, also discussed how to counter the challenges of China’s military buildup and its cooperation with Russia. Macron has said in the past that NATO should not focus on China.
White House national security spokesman John Kirby told reporters that China would be high on the agenda during Macron’s visit, “because of the global influence that China is trying to demonstrate and because of the security challenges that China continues to pose, particularly in the Indo-Pacific region”.
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