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French foreign minister underscores importance of peace in Taiwan Strait

Catherine Colonna says world does not need 'new crisis'

French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna. (Reuters photo)

French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna. (Reuters photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna reiterated the importance of peace in the Taiwan Strait in an address at Australia’s National Press Club in Canberra on Monday (Dec. 4).

Colonna stressed that “calm and stability must prevail in the Taiwan Strait” and said there should be no unilateral changes to the regional status quo. “Certainly, the world doesn’t need a new crisis,” she said.

Colonna also said France remained committed to its “one China” policy. She pointed out that the French military has 7,000 personnel stationed permanently in the Indo-Pacific, ready to provide humanitarian aid and disaster relief, when necessary, as well as contribute to regional security.

Their presence also serves to ensure freedom of navigation including in the Taiwan Strait, she said.

The French foreign minister recently returned from a two-day trip to China where she said she had “fruitful and intense discussions” with her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi (王毅) and Chinese Premier Li Qiang (李強). Colonna and Wang co-hosted the sixth meeting of the China-France high-level dialogue mechanism on people-to-people exchanges.

Colonna described China as a partner, competitor, and systemic rival to France. “The need to try and work on a positive agenda with China is more important than ever,” she said, adding, “We don’t have any interest in hindering its economic rise.”

She said France will continue to engage with China in areas such as climate change, biodiversity, and debt relief. Colonna also said France would work to de-risk itself from China but clarified that it does not mean decoupling. “It means building tools to preserve strategic autonomy of the EU,” she said.

In the past four years, France has dispatched naval ships through the Taiwan Strait three times.