Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Capital News
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen (R) greets French senator Alain Richard at the Presidential Office in Taipei © POOL/AFP / CNA Pool


French senator calls Taiwan a ‘country’ in visit China protests

Taipei, Taiwan, Oct 7 – The head of a French delegation of senators on Thursday called Taiwan a “country” during a visit to Taipei, risking fury from China which has strongly protested against the trip.

Alain Richard, a former defence minister, arrived on Wednesday for a five-day visit despite repeated warnings from the Chinese embassy in Paris.

In a speech after he was conferred a top medal of honour by President Tsai Ing-wen, Richard said Taiwan’s de facto embassy in Paris has been doing “a very good job in representing your country”.

France, like most countries, officially recognises China which claims self-ruled Taiwan as part of its territory.

Beijing tries to keep the island isolated on the world stage and baulks at the use of the name Taiwan or any reference to it as a country.

It has ramped up pressure on Tsai’s government since her 2016 election win and has aggressively tried to dissuade politicians from visiting in recent years.

The Chinese embassy in Paris warned that the visit would damage the interests of China, Chinese-French relations and “the image of France”, in comments on its website.

Beijing’s ambassador wrote a letter to Richard in February, saying the visit would “clearly violate the one-China principle and send the wrong signal to pro-independence forces in Taiwan”.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Taiwan’s foreign ministry has hailed the trip as “symbolising the insistence of Taiwan and France, as democratic partners, in upholding free and democratic values”.

“We are very moved that Senator Richard is undaunted by the pressure… to make his third visit to Taiwan,” Tsai said on Thursday.

She called a resolution Richard proposed in support of Taiwan’s international participation, passed by the French senate in May, a “milestone” in relations.

Richard chairs the French senate’s Taiwan Friendship Group and visited the island in 2015 and 2018.

Taipei has accused China of using “wolf warrior” diplomacy to try and scupper trips by foreign politicians.

“Wolf warrior” is a label given to China’s more aggressive posturing under President Xi Jinping that has been embraced by many Chinese diplomats.

Last year, Beijing called a visit to Taiwan by the president of the Czech Senate, Milos Vystrcil, a “provocation” and vowed he would “pay a high price”.

Taiwan’s defence minister said Wednesday that military tensions between the island and China are at their highest in four decades, after around 150 Chinese warplanes — a record number — made incursions into Taiwan’s air defence zone in recent days.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.
1 Comment

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Play to listen to Capital FM News

More on Capital News

Capital Health

Beijing, China, Oct 21 – Authorities in China cancelled hundreds of flights, closed schools and ramped up mass testing on Thursday to try and...


Taipei, Taiwan, Oct 14 – An overnight fire tore through a building in the southern Taiwanese city of Kaohsiung on Thursday, killing 46 people...

Fifth Estate

The first round of the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15) is underway in...


Beijing (AFP), Oct 12 – China on Tuesday pledged to inject $233 million into a new fund to protect biodiversity in developing countries during...

Fifth Estate

Last month, three Chinese astronauts returned to earth after a successful three-month mission to space. The Shenzhou-12 spacecraft became the first manned flight to...


Beijing (AFP), Oct 9 – China’s President Xi Jinping said on Saturday that “peaceful reunification” with Taiwan “will be and can be realised”, as...


Washington (AFP), Oct 7 – US special operations forces have been quietly training Taiwanese troops for months, a move which China warned Friday could...


Taipei, Taiwan, Oct 5 – Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen warned of “catastrophic consequences” if the island were to fall to China and vowed to...