A French Senate delegation led by the chairman of the Senate’s Taiwan Friendship Group has scheduled to visit Taiwan in early October, despite pressure from the Chinese communist regime.
According to French media La Lettre A, the French Senate’s Taiwan Friendship Group has scheduled its visit to Taiwan from Oct. 4 to 11. The delegation will be led by Sen. Alain Richard, who’s the head of the group, including Sens. Max Brisson and André Vallini, both vice presidents of the group, and the group’s secretary Sen. Olivier Cadic.
In March 2021, after the senators’ plan to visit Taiwan was announced, the Chinese regime’s Ambassador to France Lu Shaye wrote a public letter to Richard published on the Chinese embassy’s website, saying “China is strongly opposed to the trip,” and demanding that he cancel the visit to Taiwan. This move caused an uproar in the French political and academic circles.
Richard, the former Minister of National Defense, publicly responded to Lu, saying that he would not change the plan, and the purpose of the visit was to see how Taiwan effectively dealt with COVID-19.
France’s foreign ministry also responded to Lu’s letter, stating in a statement that “French parliamentarians are free to make decisions about their own travel plans and contacts.”
Meanwhile, more than 20 French senators jointly proposed a resolution, which was passed at the end of May, supporting Taiwan’s participation in international institutions as an observer, such as the International Criminal Police Organization, the International Civil Aviation Organization, and the World Health Organization.
The French delegation’s visit to Taiwan has also attracted the attention of the European Parliament. Many EU members, including French member Nathalie Loiseau, urged the establishment of a Taiwanese parliamentary mission. The Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament also passed a report by the Swedish MP Charlie Weimers in early September, calling on the EU to strengthen its relations with Taiwan. This has met strong opposition from the Chinese regime, which claimed that it seriously violates the “one China principle.”
Richard told French media Marianne in March, “Our relations with Taiwan do not need any approval from Beijing. Taiwan has a representation in France in the form of an “Office,” as in all large countries, we should have a quasi-diplomatic status with reciprocal representation of France in Taiwan.”
Richard told Taiwanese media that despite the pressure from the CCP, he would continue to promote France-Taiwan relations, “because we have common interests, such as continuing innovation exchange, and to cooperate in the fields of humanities, academics, culture, and technology.
Richard led French Senate delegations to visit Taiwan in 2015 and 2018.