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Additional resources for The Europeanization of French Foreign Policy: France and the EU in East Asia
The French government often intervened on behalf of individual victims of human rights abuses in the Soviet Union, and sometimes sanctions were applied or other measures taken which included the world of sport. At the 40th anniversary of the UDHR in 1988, President Mitterrand paid tribute to NGOs and expressed support for the promotion of democracy and human rights: I do not forget the daily, stubborn activities of non-governmental organisations, who report on, protest and denounce violations of human rights, and give support to the victims of such violations.
Giscard d’Estaing launched a serious political dialogue with India and took a high-profile position on Cambodian representation at the UN after the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia in 1979, on the side of ASEAN, China and the US against the Soviet Union and Vietnam. The French role in the resolution of the Cambodian conflict leading up to the 1991 peace accords was in many respects a rentrée politique for French prestige and involvement in Asian political affairs (Godement 1995:962). François Mitterrand’s presidency (1981–95) incorporated several Gaullist principles – national independence, the balance of military blocs around the world – together with European construction, the right of people to self-determination, and the development of poor countries (Mitterrand 1986:3).
In February 1993 Mitterrand was the first major Western leader to make a state visit to Vietnam, during a time when the US still called for an international embargo on Vietnam. Aiming to shore its position in the Indochinese region, France encouraged the integration of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos in regional and international organizations like ASEAN, ASEM, APEC, the Francophonie, and the WTO. These historical ties have conferred on France an influence, both on its own and through the EU, on developments in Indochina and the wider Southeast Asian region.