Despite pressure from the Chinese communist regime, a French Senate delegation led by the chairman of the Senate’s Taiwan Friendship Group is scheduled to visit Taiwan in early October.
According to the French newspaper La Lettre A, the French Senate’s Taiwan Friendship Group will visit Taiwan from October 4 to 11. The delegation will be led by Sen. Alain Richard, the group’s leader, and will include Sens. Max Brisson and André Vallini, both vice presidents of the group, as well as Sen. Olivier Cadic, the group’s secretary.
Following the announcement of the senators’ plans to visit Taiwan in March 2021, the Chinese regime’s Ambassador to France, Lu Shaye, wrote a public letter to Richard, which was published on the Chinese embassy’s website, stating that “China is strongly opposed to the trip” and demanding that he cancel the trip. This action sparked outrage in French political and academic circles.
Former Minister of National Defense Richard publicly responded to Lu, stating that he would not change the plan and that the purpose of the visit was to see how Taiwan dealt with COVID-19 effectively.
France’s foreign ministry also responded to Lu’s letter, stating that “French parliamentarians are free to make their own travel plans and contacts.”
Meanwhile, more than 20 French senators proposed a resolution, which was passed at the end of May, in support of Taiwan’s participation as an observer in international organizations such as the International Criminal Police Organization, the International Civil Aviation Organization, and the World Health Organization.
The European Parliament has also expressed interest in the French delegation’s visit to Taiwan. Many EU members, including French member Nathalie Loiseau, advocated for the creation of a Taiwanese parliamentary mission. In early September, the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee approved a report by Swedish MP Charlie Weimers urging the EU to strengthen ties with Taiwan. The Chinese regime has strongly opposed this, claiming that it seriously violates the “one China principle.”
In March, Richard told the French newspaper Marianne, “Our relations with Taiwan do not require Beijing’s approval.” Taiwan has an “office” in France, as do all large countries, and we should have a quasi-diplomatic status with reciprocal representation of France in Taiwan. ”
Despite CCP pressure, Richard told Taiwanese media that he would continue to promote France-Taiwan relations “because we have common interests, such as continuing innovation exchange and cooperating in the fields of humanities, academics, culture, and technology.”