French senators arrive in Taiwan amid tensions with China


FILE – In this undated file photo released by China’s Xinhua News Agency, two Chinese SU-30 fighter jets take off from an unspecified location to conduct a patrol over the South China Sea. With a record number of military flights near Taiwan over the past week, China has shown new intensity and sophistication as it steps up its harassment of the island it claims and claims its land claims in the region. (Jin Danhua / Xinhua via AP, file)


A group of French senators arrived in Taiwan on Wednesday for a five-day visit following a large Chinese show of force with fighter jets amid the highest tensions in decades between China and Taiwan.

The group, led by Senator Alain Richard, will meet with President Tsai Ing-wen, Taiwanese economic and health officials and the Continental Affairs Council. Richard, a former French defense minister, had previously visited Taiwan in 2015 and 2018, according to the semi-official Taiwan news agency, and heads the Taiwan Friendship Group in the French Senate.

China tried to discourage Richard’s visit, with its embassy in France saying ahead of the trip: “It would not only harm China’s core interests and undermine Sino-French relations, but also damage the reputation and interests of China. France. “

China claims Taiwan as its own territory and therefore opposes any international engagement with the island, such as visits by representatives of foreign governments. He also aggressively poached Taiwan’s last diplomatic allies.

In its most recent display of sustained military harassment, China flew fighter jets to Taiwan 149 times in four days, from Friday to Monday. The White House called the thefts risky and destabilizing, while China responded that the United States selling arms to Taiwan and its ships sailing the Taiwan Strait were provocative.

Taiwanese Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng told lawmakers on Wednesday that the situation “is the most serious in 40 years since I enlisted.”

China and Taiwan parted ways in the midst of civil war in 1949. Today, they have extensive trade and investment relations but no official relations, and China has increasingly mobilized military, diplomatic pressure. and economic to undermine the independence government of Tsai.

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