Tuesday

23rd Apr 2019

France forges closer ties with China

  • "All initiatives that can be interpreted as aggressive by one side or the other are dangerous" (Photo: European Commission)

Labelling Taiwan’s policies as "irresponsible" and putting economic relations to the fore, the French government has laid the groundwork for a new strategic alliance with China.

During a state visit to Paris by the Chinese Premier, Hu Jintao, a joint declaration issued by the two governments criticised a planned referendum in Taiwan and called for a strengthening of bilateral economic ties, according to AFP.

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Commenting on the vote, French President Jacques Chirac said, "All initiatives that can be interpreted as aggressive by one side or the other are dangerous for everyone and thus irresponsible".

The Taiwanese government is set to ask voters whether they want to boost military defences if China does not redeploy missiles aimed at the island.

According to BBC reports, Taipei has said it "deeply regrets" France’s opposition to the poll.

Arms

Despite the idea receiving a lukewarm reception in Brussels on Monday, Mr Chirac used the visit to again call on the EU to lift its arms embargo against China.

Meanwhile the Chinese premier announced that China would buy 21 A-320 airbuses from the French-led European airbus consortium,

The announcement is said to be the first in a series of bilateral contracts which are thought to encompass the nuclear energy, aeronautics and transport sectors.

Despite both France and China calling for human rights to be protected, there appears to have been little progress on the subject beyond a promise from the Chinese premier to ratify a UN covenant on political and civilian rights "as soon as possible".

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