French delegation stresses importance of keeping status quo in Taiwan Strait
ROC Central News Agency
12/17/2021 09:11 PM
Taipei, Dec. 17 (CNA) Visiting French parliamentarians on Friday expressed support for Taiwan in the face of growing pressure from China and said it is important to maintain the status quo in the Taiwan Strait.
FranÃ§ois de Rugy, who is part of a six-member delegation from France's parliament, said at a press conference that he is opposed to any acts of intimidation and menace that would jeopardize the current status quo in the Taiwan Strait.
Taiwan is in a particular position, facing threats from China, at a time when Washington and Beijing are competing for influence in the Indo-Pacific region, de Rugy said.
It is important, therefore, that democracies show support for each other and that stability and security is maintained in the Taiwan Strait, he added.
Other members of the delegation, which arrived Wednesday on a five-day visit to Taiwan, expressed similar views, saying democracies should support each other.
Parliamentarian FrÃ©dÃ©rique Dumas said the European Union should go further in its stance against China's increasing pressure on Taiwan, but she did not elaborate, and she stressed that the status quo in the Taiwan Strait should not be disrupted.
France should support democratic countries being sanctioned by China, without fear of similar treatment, Dumas said, naming in particular Australia and Lithuania.
Australia has been facing economic sanctions by China, after calling for an investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, while Lithuania has been subjected to a series of punitive measures by Beijing, amid efforts to deepen its ties with Taiwan.
During Friday's press conference, parliamentarian Jean-Luc Reitzer said his visit to Taiwan was meant to show support for Taiwan's democratic system and for Taiwanese, as they have the right to decide their own future.
Another crucial factor in the Indo-Pacific is freedom of navigation, which is vital to maintaining economic exchanges between countries in the region, Reitzer said.
Meanwhile, on the question of whether France would support a bilateral investment agreement (BIA) between Taiwan and the European Union, de Rugy told reporters that as a parliamentarian, he could not speak for the French government but would relay the Taiwan government's position on the issue to France.
Taiwan's government has more than once expressed an interest in negotiating a BIA with the EU and has called for the support of France, which will take up the presidency of the EU Council in 2022.
The delegation of French parliamentarians met Thursday with President Tsai Ing-wen (è”¡è‹±æ–‡), who said she looked forward to welcoming other French officials to Taiwan in the near future.
(By Teng Pei-ju)
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