French military report addresses China and Russia risks

A defense strategy report released by the French government highlighted the security risks posed by Russia and China, while noting the latter’s increasingly “assertive” efforts to change the “status quo” in the Taiwan Strait.

The National Strategic Review 2022, which outlines the expected state of France’s defense in 2030, was published on Wednesday by the General Secretariat for National Defense and Security.

In a section titled “Crystallization of the main antagonisms”, the report indicates that Russia “pursues a strategy which seeks to undermine European security”, most obviously with its invasion of Ukraine, but indirectly during the years which preceded the dispute.

Photo: screenshot from a Foreign Office livestream

The report begins by saying that the goal of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army is “to supplant the United States as the world’s leading superpower.”

This goal is based on the belief that American power and the Western model of governance are in decline, he said.

As a result, China aims to use its “new influence” to weaken Western leadership, the report adds.

“The CCP is therefore banking on the passivity of a majority of non-Western countries in the face of the war in Ukraine to fuel a discourse that portrays an opposition based on ‘the West against the rest,'” he said.

China’s military modernization has allowed it to pursue an “assertive” strategy in the Indo-Pacific region, “particularly with regard to the status quo in the Taiwan Strait”, he said.

He also worries about the growing “strategic convergence” between China and Russia, while saying that the Ukraine crisis could strongly tip an imbalance in relations in favor of Beijing.

This could have “enormous” implications for global governance, he added.

Beijing is likely looking at Western cohesion and the effect of sanctions against Russia to gain insight into methods that could be used against it in the event of a major crisis, the report said.

In Taipei, the Foreign Ministry said yesterday that the report’s reference to peace and security in the Taiwan Strait testified to the French government’s strong support for Taiwan, adding that it also highlighted a broad consensus around of the issue within the international community.

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