By Invitation

Gunboats, trade and the China dilemma

France and Britain are responding to China's rising power with increased naval exercises and plans for freedom of navigation patrols but to what effect?

ST ILLUSTRATION: MANNY FRANCISCO

Each year, around this time, the German city of Munich hosts Europe's equivalent of Singapore's Shangri-La Dialogue, the Munich Security Conference.

All the key players gather there to talk about the big strategic questions of the day from a European perspective. Naturally, given that these events are held on opposite sides of the world, the focus in Munich is usually rather different from the Shangri-La Dialogue's. No one there usually talks much about Asia.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 27, 2018, with the headline 'Gunboats, trade and the China dilemma'. Subscribe