French senators to go to Taiwan amid hovering China tensions

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TAIPEI, Oct 5 (Reuters) – A bunch of French senators together with a former defence minister will go to Taiwan this week, the island’s Foreign Ministry stated on Tuesday, with the go to coming at a time of hovering tensions between Taipei and Beijing and regardless of China’s opposition.

Their journey comes after China flew nearly 150 warplanes into Taiwan’s air defence zone over a 4 day interval starting Oct. 1, China’s National Day vacation.

China claims democratically dominated Taiwan as its personal territory and is all the time angered by any journeys to the island by international officers.

Taiwan Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou stated the delegation will probably be lead by Alain Richard, head of the French Senate’s Taiwan Friendship Group who was the nation’s defence minister from 1997 to 2002 beneath President Jacques Chirac. Richard has visited Taiwan twice earlier than, in 2015 and 2018.

Ou stated Richard can be coming regardless of strain from China.

“We are very moved by this and admire it,” she added, saying additional particulars can be supplied later.

The different senators coming are Max Brisson and André Vallini, each vice presidents of the friendship group, and the group’s secretary Olivier Cadic, in keeping with French and Taiwanese media reviews.

France, like most international locations, has no formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan, however has beforehand offered weapons to the island – six frigates in 1991, and 60 Mirage 2000 fighter jets the next 12 months.

In March, the Chinese embassy in Paris warned towards lawmakers assembly Taiwanese officers, prompting a rebuff from the French international ministry, which stated French senators are free to fulfill whomever they want after they journey.

Taiwan’s authorities has denounced China’s strain towards it, and says it is going to defend the island’s freedom and democracy, and that solely Taiwan’s individuals can determine their future.

Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Lincoln Feast.

A Taiwanese flag flaps in the wind in Taoyuan, Taiwan, June 30, 2021. REUTERS/Ann Wang/File Photo