French President Emmanuel Macron met US Vice President Kamala Harris at the headquarters of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in Washington and discussed space exploration and the continued strengthening of joint investments in the exploration of the Moon and Mars. Macron, who is in US for his official visit, agreed with Harris to strengthen US-France space cooperation across civil, commercial, and national security sectors, according to the statement released by the White House. This meeting is based on the November 2021 meeting that took place in Paris where they agreed to strengthen space cooperation across all sectors.
According to the statement, since that meeting, France has signed the Artemis Accords to guide civil use of space, the United States has joined the Space for Climate Observatory (SCO) to develop accessible tools for climate monitoring and adaptation, and the United States and France held the first Comprehensive Dialogue on Space to discuss cooperation on civil, commercial, and national security space initiatives. France announced yesterday the same commitment that the Vice President announced in April 2022 not to conduct destructive, direct-ascent anti-satellite missile testing.
Both had received a briefing from French and US experts on climate science and discussed how to utilize space data better to address the climate crisis. They also discussed the expanded participation of the United States in SCO and the upcoming launch of the US-France Surface Water and Ocean Topography mission that will make the first-ever global survey of Earth’s surface water and comprehensively track changes over time, the statement reads.
The Vice President and President Macron also discussed space exploration with US and French astronauts, including the continued importance of a crewed presence in low Earth orbit, including International Space Station operations, the statement added.
After reaching the US, Macron tweeted, “USA! A moment to celebrate the friendship between our two countries. A moment to progress together in a time of great challenges.”
Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, on being asked about the differences between US and France, accepted them and said they have always worked through them.
In an interview with Christiane Amanpour of CNN, Blinken said, “And do we have differences on certain things? Of course. We always do, but we always work through them. And so, for example, when it comes to some concerns that we’ve heard in Europe over some of the provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act that go to creating incentives for investing in the United States – we’ve heard some concerns expressed by our European partners – we immediately set up a task force with the European Union to work through those concerns, and that’s exactly what we’re doing.”