Entente Cordiale

I was puzzled about the half page advertisement which appeared in my hard-copy version of the Times today.

“Vote for Peace” it said next to a picture of a young Chinese woman dropping her vote in a ballot box.

“Peace and democracy. Generations of the free and righteous have devoted their efforts to the pursuit of these noble goals” it continued.

It was reminding us that on March 20th Taiwan is going to the polls. Why Times readers needed to know about this event escaped me until I saw this article in the Financial Times the first two paragraphs of which I reproduce below.

The navies of China and France begin joint exercises today off the north Chinese coast in what Beijing says will be the “most comprehensive” military drills with a foreign power by a fleet under the command of the People’s Liberation Army.

Although they are being conducted some distance from Taiwan, the exercises will take place just days before sensitive presidential elections on the island. China claims sovereignty over Taiwan.