Monday, November 26, 2007

Sarkozy in China

To what extent is Nicolas Sarkozy prepared to depart from the legacy in Franco-Chinese relations established by his predecessor Jacques Chirac? My first impressions, after reviewing the initial reports, is that there is far more continuity rather than change.

Yes, it does seem the rhetoric about a world defined by multipolarity (as opposed to one dominated by the United States) is largely absent. Sarkozy does want to make progress with China on reduction of its emissions and to see greater Chinese efforts on Burma--but here my sense was that he was looking to frame these questions not in terms of "do this to be a responsible member of the world community" and more in terms of quid pro quos--e.g. on climate change working to transfer more technology. And certainly the nuclear deals that were signed form part of that strategy.

We did see continued strong adherence to the one-China policy and strong statements against any referendum in Taiwan about seeking UN membership--a step that would be a prelude to a declaration of independence.

Finally, a recognition of China's "first-tier status" when Sarkozy included the yuan (renminbi) as one of the world's leading currencies along the yen, dollar and euro.

All in all, it seems like a very pragmatic and businesslike approach.

So far, Sarko the American is 0 for 2 in terms of reading riot acts to Moscow and Beijing. Guess he doesn't even believe what he said in that interview you ran.
How do we know about "riot act" bit?

He got 29 billion dollars worth of orders - Chief Executive of France as the Chief Marketing Officer; how "A Certain Conception of France" has been transformed!
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