March 19, 2004

France finds a friend in China

Taiwan is holding an election tomorrow. The Chinese aren't happy. And neither, apparently, is whoever tried to kill pro-independence candidate Chen today. The French, for their part, are content to find a major power that will conduct joint military exercises with them. If you were being charitable, who else were the French going to conduct joint naval exercises with? Their good friends the British? Their even better friends the Americans? Why not the Chinese? If you were being uncharitable, you'd say the French would stoop pretty low--even to the point of abetting attempted Chinese intimidation of a free election--to take an anti-American position. BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | China drill before Taiwan poll: "This will be China's most comprehensive naval exercise with any foreign navy,' said Xinhua, quoting Ju Xinchun, captain of the Chinese guided missile destroyer, Harbin. China held its first ever joint naval exercises last year, when it conducted separate drills with both Pakistan and India. This will be its first exercise on the high seas with a major Western power, said Xinhua. The French government confirmed the exercises but denied there was any significance in their scale or timing. 'They are part of the regional cooperation between the two navies, which was expanded after last year's visit to France by Chinese President Hu Jintao,' said a spokesman for the French Foreign Ministry in Paris. "


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