Friday, April 22, 2005

If the price is right

Prime Minister Raffarin has got what he wanted during his visit to China – trade deals amounting to €200 billion (£137 billion) for France. (Ahem, whatever happened to European solidarity, integration and the need to speak with one voice to play a stronger part in the world?)

But he had to pay for it. Not only he called once again for the lifting of the arms embargo despite all the many political, strategic and humanitarian arguments against it but he has also broken rank with the rest of the Western world and announced French support for the recent Chinese anti-secession law.

The law gives China the right (passed as it was by the Chinese government, it does not embody international legislation that is so close to the hearts of all French politicians, particularly when it means oppsing the United States) to attack and invade Taiwan, should it make overt moves towards formal independence.

The law was criticized by the United States, Japan and all European countries and was the main reason why the agreement on lifting the EU arms embargo was once again postponed.

Now that France has made the first move to support an obviously aggressive piece of Chinese legislation in order to win big orders, can other European countries be far behind?

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