A delegation led by French Senator Alain Richard is to arrive in Taiwan today, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday, adding that the visitors are to meet with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文).
Richard has since 2015 served as chairman of French Senate’s Taiwan Friendship Group. He served as French minister of defense from 1997 to 2002.
It is Richard’s third trip to Taiwan, following visits in 2015 and 2018, ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) told a news briefing in Taipei.
Photo copied by Lu Yi-hsuan, Taipei Times
While Ou only said the delegation would arrive “this week,” the ministry later in a news release said the delegation would arrive today and stay until Sunday.
Other visitors include Max Brisson and Else Joseph, who are deputy heads of the Taiwan Friendship Group, and Olivier Cadic, vice chairman of the French Senate’s Foreign Affairs, Defense and Armed Forces Committee, the ministry said.
Cadic earlier wrote on Twitter that the delegation was leaving for Taipei.
“Happy to return to Taiwan for a high-level meeting program. It is essential to strengthen exchanges between Taiwan and France,” Cadic wrote, along with a photograph showing the delegation’s meeting with Representative to France Francois Wu (吳志中).
In addition to Tsai, the delegation would meet with Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), Legislative Speaker You Si-kun (游錫堃), Control Yuan President Chen Chu (陳菊), Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), as well as other officials at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Mainland Affairs Council, the foreign ministry said, adding that You and Wu would hold banquets for the visitors.
The two sides would exchange opinions about post-COVID-19 recovery, regional security and other areas of cooperation, it said.
Richard has been a firm supporter of Taiwan, with the French Senate on May 6 for the first time passing a resolution supporting Taiwan to join international organizations, the foreign ministry said.
Chinese Ambassador to France Lu Shaye (盧沙野) in February in a letter asked Richard to cancel his trip to Taiwan and also verbally attacked French researchers backing the trip, sparking a backlash in France.
Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Hua Chunying (華春瑩) on Thursday said that Beijing is opposed to any French lawmakers conducting official exchanges with Taiwan, urging France to abide by its “one China” principle.
Richard is a senior lawmaker and a good friend of French President Emmanuel Macron, which is why his visit angered Beijing, said Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Tsai Shih-ying (蔡適應), chairman of the Legislative Yuan’s Taiwan-France Parliamentary Friendship Association.
Richard is influential in matters of defense and diplomacy, and his visit to Taiwan would boost the nation’s cooperation with France, as well as the EU, he said.
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