Samuel Case, FISM News
A group of French diplomats arrived in Taiwan today for a five day visit amid escalating tensions between the democratic island nation and the communist regime of China.
The envoy is led by French Senator and former Defense Minister Alain Richard, and is scheduled to meet with the Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, the Mainland Affairs Council, and economic and health officials. This will mark Richard’s third trip to Taiwan, having traveled there in 2015 and 2018. Like most other nations, France has no formal relationship with Taiwan, but it has sold weapons to the country in the past.
Deputy Minister Tseng extended the warmest of welcomes to the delegation from the #France🇫🇷-#Taiwan🇹🇼 Friendship Group of the French @Senat. We wish Alain Richard, @Max_Brisson, @ElseJoseph, @OlivierCadic & Judith Bout a rewarding visit aimed at taking 2-way ties to new heights. pic.twitter.com/TkTDOJ2w3C
— 外交部 Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ROC (Taiwan) 🇹🇼 (@MOFA_Taiwan) October 5, 2021
The visit is expected to draw ire from mainland China. Earlier this year the Chinese embassy in Paris wrote a letter urging the team to cancel the trip, saying it would “clearly violate the one-China principle and send the wrong signal to pro-independence forces in Taiwan.” The French foreign ministry responded saying their senators are free to travel as they see fit. Recently China also warned France that such a visit would damage Chinese-French relations and “the image of France.”
Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry praised the diplomats for ignoring China’s warning, saying, “The senators are making the visit despite threats from the Chinese ambassador to France, showing their steadfast commitment to the spirit of freedom and democracy. “
These diplomatic meetings come as China is becoming more aggressive in the region. Over the weekend China initiated a four day long intimidation campaign, flying nearly 150 warplanes into Taiwan’s airspace.
In response, Taiwan’s foreign minister Joseph Wu said that the country will not back down to China, even if it means full-scale war, saying “If China is going to launch a war against Taiwan we will fight to the end, and that is our commitment.”
In late September Chinese President Xi Jing Ping described the situation in the Taiwan Strait as “complex and grim.”