South Asia

Taiwan says five French lawmakers to visit this week

TAIPEI: A delegation of five French lawmakers will visit Taiwan this week, the island’s foreign ministry said on Tuesday, the first high-level Europeans to come following a string of officials from the United States, which has infuriated China.
China, which claims Taiwan as its own territory despite the strong objections of the government in Taipei, carried out war games near the island last month after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi came to Taipei.
She was followed by several other US delegations, including lawmakers and the governor of the state of Arizona.
Taiwan’s foreign ministry said the French delegation would arrive on Wednesday and stay until Monday. They would meet Vice President William Lai rather than President Tsai Ing-wen, it said.
The cross-party delegation would be led by Senator Cyril Pellevat, the ministry said.
Taiwan has been keen to bolster relations with like-minded democracies, especially as tension with China rises. Later this year, visits are also expected from German, British and Canadian legislators.
China views Taiwan as a purely domestic issue and bristles at visits by foreign officials or members of parliament.
Taiwan’s democratically elected government says that as the People’s Republic of China has never governed the island it has no right to claim it, and that Taiwan’s future can only be decided by its 23 million people.

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