Taiwan seeks international support after Chinese incursions

Ben Blanchard

TAIPEI –

Taiwan

will ensure regional peace and stability and

seeks

to work with other like-minded democracies, President Tsai Ing-wen told senior French and Australian dignitaries on Thursday, days

after

a dramatic spike in tensions with China.

The trips by four French senators and former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott come

after

four straight days, beginning last Friday, of massed

Chinese

air force

incursions

https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/

taiwan

-reports-surge-

chinese

-aircraft-defence-zone-2021-10-04 into

Taiwan

‘s air defence zone, moves met with concern by Washington and its allies.

Democratically ruled

Taiwan

has sought

support

from other democracies, especially the United States and it allies, amid the growing military and political pressure from China, which claims

Taiwan

as its own territory.

Speaking at the presidential office to the French senators, lead by former defence minister Alain Richard, Tsai thanked France for its concern about the situation in the

Taiwan

Strait and

support

for its

international

participation.

“We will continue to fulfil our responsibilities as members of the

international

community to ensure peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region. We also hope to make more contributions to the world along with France,” she added.

Richard discussed the “essential contribution of

Taiwan

in the important field of human progress” but did not mention the rising military tensions with China in remarks carried live on the presidential office’s Facebook page.

Tsai gave a similar message in later remarks to Abbott, who told her he was in

Taiwan

to help end its

international

isolation, praising its democracy and handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Of course not everyone and not everywhere is pleased at

Taiwan

‘s progress, and I do note that

Taiwan

is challenged on an almost daily basis by its giant neighbour,” Abbott said.

The French senators arrived in

Taiwan

on Wednesday, despite the strong objections of China which is always angered by visits of foreign officials.

Richard, head of the French Senate’s

Taiwan

Friendship Group, was the country’s defence minister from 1997 to 2002 under President Jacques Chirac.

Tsai said

Taiwan

was “very moved” Richard decided to come, despite what she described as “pressure” – a reference to China.

In March, the

Chinese

embassy in Paris warned against lawmakers meeting

Taiwan

ese officials, prompting a rebuff from the French foreign ministry, which said French senators are free to meet whomever they wish when they travel.

Tsai did not directly mention the recent

Chinese

air force activities in public comments at her meetings with the senators or Abbott.

Neither France nor Australia have formal diplomatic ties with

Taiwan

, like most countries.

Separately,

Taiwan

‘s foreign ministry said

it would pay close attention to a planned summit

between U.S. President Joe Biden and

Chinese

President Xi Jinping, the United States being

Taiwan

‘s most important backer.

“We will continue to coordinate closely with the United States in Taipei and Washington to ensure that U.S. policy toward

Taiwan

remains unchanged,” said ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou.


Taiwan

‘s government has denounced China’s moves against it, and says it will defend the island’s freedom and democracy, and that only

Taiwan

‘s people can decide their future. –

Reuters