No visit to Taiwan? France rebuffs China’s warning: Senators can meet whoever they want

The French government rejected China’s warning, stressing that the French Senate has the right to freely decide on the countries it visits abroad and the people it meets.

The French Foreign Ministry made the statement on Wednesday. This follows a warning by the Chinese Embassy in France about an upcoming visit to Taiwan by a French senator.

In February, Chinese Ambassador Lu Shano wrote to Alain Richard, chairman of the French Senate’s Taiwan Friendship Group, expressing concern about the group’s visit to Taiwan this summer. Lussano urged against holding a meeting that could harm French-Chinese relations.

The letter said, “It is well known that there is only one China in the world and that Taiwan is an inseparable part of China. China has always been resolutely opposed to any form of official contacts between its diplomatic partners and the Taiwan region.”

The contents of the letter were obtained by the French media, and there are different reports showing the anger felt by former French Defense Minister Richard after receiving the letter. Richard had previously visited Taiwan in his capacity as chairman of the French Senate’s Friends of Taiwan group.

The Chinese Embassy in France therefore published the letter on its website on March 16, stating that the group’s visit to Taiwan violated the one-China principle and sent the wrong signal to the Taiwan independence forces. The letter asked the French Senate to “respect China’s core interests and major concerns, handle Taiwan-related issues carefully and properly, and refrain from any form of official contacts with the Taiwan authorities.”

Asked to respond to this on Wednesday, the French Foreign Ministry spokeswoman noted that France is a country with three branches of government and that “the French parliament is free to decide on their travel and who they contact.”

The report said this is not the first Time the French government has been angry with Chinese Ambassador to France Lu Shano. The French Foreign Ministry summoned Roussano last April to protest posts and tweets from the Chinese Embassy in France defending Beijing‘s response to the outbreak and criticizing the West’s handling of the outbreak.