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French presidential candidate says Taiwan not a country, independence red line for China

Melenchon says China would 'rightfully think red line was crossed' if Taiwan declares independence

Jean-Luc Melenchon. (RMC screenshot)

Jean-Luc Melenchon. (RMC screenshot)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A French presidential candidate on Tuesday (Oct. 19) stated that he does not believe Taiwan to be a country, that a declaration of independence would be a red line for China, and that he will do everything to avoid a cold or hot war with China.

On his RMC program "Bourdin Direct," French journalist Jean-Jacques Bourdin on Tuesday held a heated interview with Jean-Luc Melenchon, who is a member of France's National Assembly, president of the democratic socialist La France Insoumise party, and candidate for the 2022 French Presidential Election. At the end of the 26-minute interview, Bourdin posed some tough questions about Taiwan to the prospective president.

Amid the recent incursion of 149 Chinese warplanes in the Taiwan Strait, Bourdin asked Melenchon if he believed Taiwan to be a "state." Melenchon responded with a definitive "No!"

The presidential candidate stated that his rationale for denying Taiwan's status as a country is because it is not recognized by the United Nations. Next, Bourdin asked Melenchon what he would do as president if China invaded Taiwan.

Melenchon responded by saying, "China won't invade Taiwan." Bourdin cut him off and countered by saying, "It was Mao's dream. It's the dream of the Chinese president."

The candidate then stressed, "I don't want to put my finger on a cold war with China." He argued that as president of France, "we do not have the means to do otherwise, and there is no interest in doing otherwise."

He vowed that France would not wage war against China, as "we did against many countries before for nothing. Not with me!" Melenchon emphasized the need for dialogue with China and reiterated that "they don't want to invade Taiwan."

However, he warned that if Taiwan declares independence, it might be possible that China "rightfully thinks that her red-line has been crossed." He highlighted that the objective must be to avoid such a scenario.

"No war, enough war, we are a small country of 67 million people," said Melenchon. He warned that "one strike and there is no more France. China it's 1.5 billion, we must realize it."

He closed by saying, "We should not be the police for the world."

Updated : 2021-11-28 14:57 GMT+08:00