Macron brings Indo-Pacific closer to Paris with the appointment of a new minister

French President Emmanuel Macron has appointed President Sonia Buckes of Southern New Caledonia to an expanded 42 governments and has moved France’s Indo-Pacific closer to Paris.

French Prime Minister Elizabeth Borne officially appointed Backès to the post of Secretary of Citizenship of the Interior Ministry on July 5. report RNZ.

It is the first time in 50 years that a New Caledonian politician has been appointed to the French government after Roger Frey, a former New Caledonian politician, became Minister of State of France from 1959 to 1972.

Mr. Bakez said he intends to maintain his position as president of Southern New Caledonia.

This appointment will take place after both New Caledonia seats in Paris have been acquired by candidates from a newly formed coalition group (led by Backès) consisting of four pro-French political parties.

The merged group cast support behind President Emmanuel Macron’s Renaissance Party (formerly La Republique En Marche!) In the June elections.

Updated Pacific Focus

The decision to include the bucket will incorporate the interests of the Pacific region of France within the Macron government.

In 2018, the President of France launched his country’s Indo-Pacific strategy (pdf) Beijing’s influence in the region is increasing.

Seven of France’s 13 overseas departments, regions and communities are located in either the Indian Ocean or the South Pacific. include 1.5 million French citizens and 8,000 soldiers.

French territory of the Indo-Pacific includes New Caledonia, French Polynesia, Wallis Hutu Tuna, La Reunion and Mayotte. These occupy 93% of France’s exclusive economic zone.

According to the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development Indo Pacific Is one of the “Priority of France’s European and International Action”.

“The Indo-Pacific is the center of gravity of the new world, accounting for 60% of the world’s GDP and inhabited by 4.5 billion people,” the ministry said.

“Also, the future of a rules-based international order is at stake, along with the ability to tackle current key challenges such as climate change, biodiversity and global health.”

Epoch Times Photo
French President Emmanuel Macron will give a speech on August 17, 2021 at Borm Remimosa in Southern France at a ceremony commemorating the 77th anniversary of the liberation of Borm Remimosa during World War II. (AFP via Eric Gaillard / POOL / Getty Images)

France’s shift in focus to the Indo-Pacific region comes after continued tensions with the Chinese Communist Party, which is engaged in the construction of islands in the South China Sea and the economic coercion of Australia.

The French government called Beijing a “systematic rival”, saying it had a vision of an international order that was “significantly different, especially when it comes to human rights.”

Scheduled to meet in a mixed reaction

Meanwhile, the appointment has responded in various ways in New Caledonia, with pro-French politician Nicolas Metzdorf, one of Backès’s supporters, saying it would benefit the state.

“Sonia Bucks will be attending the government, which is great news for our territory as it allows Caledonia to be overseen from two angles: the overseas territorial ministry and the cabinet.”

However, pro-New Caledonian independent politician and President of the Caledonian Union, Daniel Gore, said the nomination obscured the political situation.

“Will this nomination of Mr. Buckes add further confusion to the political message? Is she already the president of the Southern State and the political parties she represents, and then she will also be the Secretary of State?” Gore Said report RNZ on July 9th.

Victoria Kelly Clark


Victoria Kelly-Clark is an Australian-based reporter focusing on the national political and geopolitical environment of the Asia-Pacific region, the Middle East and Central Asia.