The head of a French delegation of Senators on Thursday called Taiwan a “country” during a visit to Taipei, risking fury from China which has strongly protested against the trip.
Alain Richard, a former Defence Minister, arrived on Wednesday for a five-day visit despite repeated warnings from the Chinese Embassy in Paris.
In a speech after he was conferred a top medal of honour by President Tsai Ing-wen, Mr. Richard said Taiwan’s de facto embassy in Paris has been doing “a very good job in representing your country”.
France, like most countries, officially recognises China which claims self-ruled Taiwan as part of its territory. Beijing tries to keep the island isolated on the world stage and baulks at the use of the name Taiwan or any reference to it as a country. It has ramped up pressure on Ms. Tsai’s government since her 2016 election win and has aggressively tried to dissuade politicians from visiting in recent years.
The Chinese Embassy in Paris warned that the visit would damage Chinese-French relations.
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