The leader of a group of French senators on Thursday called Taiwan a “country” during a visit to Taipei, angered by China, which has strongly opposed the trip.
Alain Richard, the former defense minister, arrived on Wednesday on a five-day visit despite repeated warnings from the Chinese embassy in Paris.
After being presented with the High Medal by President Tsai Ing-wen, Richard said that Taiwan’s real embassy in Paris is “doing an excellent job of representing your country”.
France, like most countries, officially recognizes China, which claims self-governing Taiwan as part of its territory.
Beijing seeks to isolate the island on the world stage and uses the name Taiwan or a reference to a country.
Since Chain’s 2016 election victory it has increased pressure on the government and sought to prevent politicians from visiting in recent years.
The Chinese embassy in Paris has warned that the visit could damage the interests of China, Sino-French relations and the “image of France”.
Beijing’s ambassador wrote a letter to Richard in February, saying the visit would “clearly violate the one-China policy and send the wrong signal to pro – independence forces in Taiwan.”
Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry hailed the visit as “symbolizing Taiwan and France’s emphasis on upholding independent and democratic values as democratic partners.”
“We are very flexible in not being intimidated by the pressure for Senator Richard’s third visit to Taiwan,” Chai said Thursday.
He called for a resolution proposed by Richard in support of Taiwan’s international participation, which was passed by the French Senate in May, which was a “milestone” in relations.
Richard is the chairman of the Taiwan Friendship Committee of the French Senate and visited the island in 2015 and 2018.
Taipei has accused China of using “wolf warrior” diplomacy to try and obstruct the travels of foreign politicians.
The “wolf warrior” is a label given to China’s most aggressive stance under President Xi Jinping, accepted by many Chinese diplomats.
Last year, Beijing Czech Senate President Milos Wiester called the visit to Taiwan “provocative” and vowed to “pay a high price”.
Taiwan’s defense minister said on Wednesday that military tensions between Tiwan and China were the highest in four decades, with about 150 Chinese warplanes – which had recently infiltrated Taiwan’s air defense zone.
(This story was not edited by NDTV staff and was automatically created from Syndicate Feed.)