Will China acquire the French Archipelago of New Caledonia?

The announcement of the AUKUS Alliance between Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America sent multiple messages to many recipients. The United States prioritizes strategic competition with China and is concentrating forces in China’s wider Indian-Pacific region. They have left Afghanistan, they will leave Iraq and they are now avoiding opening new fronts with the Muslim world.

In addition, the United States trusts the United Kingdom more than the European Union in its confrontation with China. In the case of Australia, the price was paid by France with the cancellation of the contract for the construction of 12 conventional submarine propulsion.

The problem is that the US should include France in part in its planning and given that it has a significant presence in the Indo-Pacific region. France supplies weapon systems to countries such as Vietnam, Thailand, South Korea, New Zealand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan and India.

In addition, France owns territories such as New Caledonia and French Polynesia, which play a key role in the US-China strategic confrontation. The US move to isolate France creates strong side effects in the Indo-Pacific Ocean.

On December 12, 2021, the third referendum will take place in which 280,000 inhabitants of the French archipelago of New Caledonia will vote if they want to remain part of the French Republic or become an independent state. The previous referendum was marginally in favor of Yes, while the isolation of France after the denunciation of the AUKUS Alliance may lead the majority to vote no.

In the event of such a no-vote, France would lose a strategically important archipelago defending the defenses of Australia and New Zealand, enabling China to strengthen its enormous economic and geopolitical influence in this newly established independent state.

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