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French MP calls Taiwan a ‘country’ of China



China has described Taiwan becoming part of the mainland as “inevitable”. (file)


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

Former Defense Minister Alain Richard arrived in Paris on a five-day visit on Wednesday despite repeated warnings from the Chinese embassy.

In a speech after President Tsai Ing-wen was awarded the top honor medal, Richard said Taiwan’s de facto embassy in Paris “is doing a great job representing your country”.

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

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

It has increased pressure on Sai’s government since its 2016 election victory and has aggressively tried to block politicians from visiting in recent years.

The Chinese embassy in Paris warned that the visit would harm the interests of China, Sino-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 a false signal to pro-independence forces in Taiwan”.

Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry welcomed the visit as “a symbol of Taiwan and France’s urge, as democratic partners, in upholding independent and democratic values”.

“We are very impressed that Senator Richard has remained unresponsive to pressure to make his third visit to Taiwan,” Tsai said on Thursday.

He called Richard a resolution in support of Taiwan’s international participation, which was passed by the French Senate in May, a “milestone” in relations.

Richard chairs the Taiwan Friendship Group of the French Senate and visited the island in 2015 and 2018.

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

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

Last year, Beijing called a visit to Taiwan by Czech Senate President Milos Vistrsil as a “provocation” and vowed it would “pay a high price”.

Taiwan’s defense minister said on Wednesday that military tensions between the island and China are at their highest level in four decades after a record number of nearly 150 Chinese warplanes infiltrated Taiwan’s air defenses in recent days.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


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