It is Chinese Ambassador to France Lu Sha-ye (盧沙野), not Taiwanese, who should be “re-educated,” Legislative Speaker Yu Si-kun (游錫?) told a French delegation led by French Senator Cyril Pellevat at a meeting in Taipei yesterday.
“Lu used a verbal threat to try to stop French Senator Alain Richard from visiting Taiwan in October last year. He sparked criticism worldwide in August with remarks about re-educating Taiwanese following a hypothetical unification with China,” Yu said.
“A UN human rights report published last month said that China has been persecuting Uighurs and that Beijing committed crimes against humanity,” Yu said. “A government that points guns at its own people is a great harm to freedom, democracy and human rights.”
“Lu himself is the one who needs to be re-educated, not Taiwanese,” he added.
Lu made similar remarks on French television last year.
Yu said that France is a democratic and peace-loving nation, and has frequently dispatched its navy and air force in the Indo-Pacific region to defend freedom of navigation, making the country indispensable to security in the region.
France named Taiwan a key economic and trading partner in a February report on its Indo-Pacific policies, Yu said, adding that it is the first European nation to refute China’s claim of sovereignty over the Taiwan Strait.
Pellevat said that this is his third visit to Taiwan.
“We are here to support democracy, freedom and human rights,” Pellevat said.
“Members of the French Senate are very concerned for Taiwan’s participation in the international community, which is why they passed a motion in May last year supporting Taiwan’s bid to join international organizations,” he said, adding that Taiwan and France share mutual interests.
“With the recent development across the Taiwan Strait, we can forge new partnerships, from producing semiconductors to fighting disinformation,” he said.
Pellevat also told reporters that he had not received any warning from the Chinese government prior to this trip to Taiwan, but he has read comments from Chinese social media users.
The French delegation also met with Vice President William Lai (賴清德).
The timing of the visit is meaningful, as tensions across the Taiwan Strait remain high after China held live-fire military exercises in waters around Taiwan last month, Lai told the delegation.
The French Senate in May last year and the French National Assembly in November last year passed resolutions to support Taiwan’s participation in international organizations, Lai said.
The French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs on Aug. 5 issued a statement opposing China’s attempt to use US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan as a reason to escalate tensions across the Taiwan Strait.
“A reformed and trustworthy industry supply chain is needed, as we face greater geopolitical risks and restructuring of supply chains” Lai said.
“Taiwan is willing to play an active and positive role by working with the French government in this endeavor,” he added.
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