Tuesday, March 23, 2004

"Faithful to its values, France has never ceased to stand upright in the face of history and before mankind"

China is now a special partner ... playing a key and responsible role in the international system ... We should encourage it in this direction to contribute to international stability and security, especially in Asia.
- both quotes, Dominique de Villepin, the first in February 2003 at the UN opposing the Iraq war, the second this past January as part of a French bid to lift the EU arms embargo imposed on China after the Tiananmen Massacre
Marcus@Harry's has uncovered a possible motive for French participation in joint exercises with the Chinese navy.
According to the Taipei Times in November 2003 Taiwan brought a US$600 million legal action against Thomson-CSF (now Thales) which had supplied six Lafayette class frigates to Taiwan in 1991....The above story shouldn't be understood as the only reason the French might want to fire shot across Taiwan's bows. The $600 million at stake is mere chickenfeed when compared with the potential profits selling arms to the People's Republic of China represent and which France is keen to see go ahead as soon as possible. Considering exactly which interests were uppermost in the minds of the French government when they decided to carry-out joint exercises with the Chinese Navy is not as important as occasionaly reminding ourselves that French foreign policy actions are never made without an underlying commercial rationale.
I don't know how Marcus even found this particular trail. However he did it, it must have taken considerable digging. Well done, Marcus.

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