TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Chinese ambassador to France Lu Shaye (盧沙野) reportedly sent a "harshly worded" letter to French Senator Alain Richard in February to warn against going forward with a plan to organize a visit to Taiwan this summer.
In a report published on Monday (March 15), La Lettre A revealed that Richard, who chairs the French Senate's France-Taiwan Friendship Group, had on Feb. 18 received a long letter from Lu condemning the organization's planned visit to Taiwan to discuss its effective COVID-19 prevention measures.
Lu said in the letter that he had learned about the visit through the organization's website and that the trip would not only "threaten the status quo between Beijing and Taipei" but also send the wrong message to pro-independence forces in Taiwan. Emphasizing that "Taiwan is an inalienable part of China," he asked Richard to avoid any form of official contact with the Taiwanese government in the future.
According to the report, Richard was "very displeased" about the tone in which the letter was written, and he is planning to give the Chinese embassy a clear reply. Meanwhile, Antoine Bondaz, a fellow at the Foundation for Strategic Research, said on Twitter that the letter is an intervention in France's democratic system and that the legislators have the freedom to meet with anyone they deem appropriate.
In an interview with CNA, Taiwan's envoy to France Wu Chi-chung (吳志中) said that the governments of Taiwan and France have a long-established friendship and that Richard, a friend of Taiwan, had visited the country in 2015 and 2018. He stressed that the Chinese ambassador has no authority to instruct other countries on how to conduct their political business.
Chinese Ambassador to France Lu Shaye (AP photo)