The ‘Alliance Era’ and Strategic Cooperation with China, 1978–82
During the late 1970s, the rise of Cold War tensions in the West and the Sino-Soviet conflict in Asia led to converging interests between China and Western Europe. Against this background, Albers in this chapter compares how the governments of Britain, France and West Germany pursued their China policies between 1978 and 1982. He argues that France and Britain came close to creating a de facto alliance with Beijing, even contemplating exports of high-tech arms to China. Eventually, however, the French government, similar to that of Germany, decided to place stable relations with the Soviet Union over a partnership with China. In the British case, by contrast, it was the differences over the future of Hong Kong and Margaret Thatcher’s anticommunist principles that prevented the emergence of a real strategic partnership.