French President Macron and U.S. Vice President Harris visit NASA headquarters in Washington
French President Emmanuel Macron and U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris hold a briefing during a visit to NASA headquarters in Washington, U.S., November 30, 2022. Reuters

French President Emmanuel Macron visited NASA headquarters on Wednesday and said U.S.-French cooperation was important to counter the presence of "rogue states" in space as he began a visit to the United States to discuss issues ranging from the war in Ukraine to China with American leaders.

Macron arrived in Washington on Tuesday for his second state visit to the United States since taking office in 2017 and is expected to confront President Joe Biden over new American subsidies that are riling European leaders already facing the economic fallout following Russia's February invasion of Ukraine.

Macron's first public engagement was at the headquarters of the U.S. space agency alongside Vice President Kamala Harris, who said the two would discuss collaboration in space to tackle climate change and on security.

Macron said space represents "a new place of conflict" and that it was important for France and the United States to work together on setting rules and norms because they share a commitment to science as well as democratic values.

"We have crazy players in space as well, and we have rogue states there and we have new hybrid attacks," Macron said, speaking in English.

Harris and Macron announced new U.S.-French cooperation on space during a meeting in Paris a year ago.

France joined the United States and several other nations in ruling out destructive, direct-ascent anti-satellite missile testing after Russia struck one of its own satellites in orbit last year, creating debris and drawing scorn from the United States and its allies.

The United States, which last demonstrated such a missile in 2008, first announced its ban on the tests in April.


After the NASA visit, Macron was treated to lunch at the Library of Congress, where he addressed U.S. lawmakers from both sides of the aisle on climate change and biodiversity.

In his introductory remarks, Macron said France and the United States should join forces to reform the International Monetary Fun and the World Bank so their funds can be directed to countries hit by climate change.

After Republicans won the House of Representatives in this month's mid-term elections, Macron's efforts to reach out to both parties was a recognition he must look beyond Biden, a Democrat, to advance cooperation with Washington, French official say.

Macron's visit came as NATO ministers met in Bucharest and pledged more aid to Ukraine to help against Russia's attacks on energy infrastructure as winter bites.

The alliance, of which the United States and France are founding members, was also discussing how to address challenges posed by China's military buildup and its cooperation with Russia, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said. Macron has said in the past that China should not be a focus for NATO.

White House national security spokesman John Kirby told reporters on a briefing call that China would top the agenda during Macron's visit "because of the global influence that China is trying to exude and demonstrate and because of the security challenges that China continues to pose, particularly in the Indo-Pacific region."