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The Indo-Pacific has partially replaced the term Asia-Pacific and emerged as a geo-economic and geostrategic concept over the last decade, with Japan, Australia, the United States, and India launching their respective plans. As a resident power and a long-time partner, France seized the opportunity. In May 2018, the French Indo-Pacific strategy was initiated during President Macron’s state visit to Australia and released as an official document a year later, making France the first European power to adopt such a strategy. To unveil the driving forces behind French policies and the roles of France in the region, this article employs major theories in international relations (realism, liberalism, and constructivism). In particular, the authors analyze France’s tactical actions concerning like-minded partners and a rising China, addressing how France can protect its interests and amplify its leverage in the region amid Sino-American tensions. The paper specifies several differences between the French approach and other major countries. Last but not least, given the importance of the Franco-ASEAN links mentioned in Section Three of the official strategy, the article also clarifies recent developments in their relationship, focusing on the role of Vietnam in France’s overall scheme.
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