Despite strong protest from Beijing, which considers self-governed Taiwan as Chinese territory, a delegation of French senators arrived in Taiwan on Wednesday for talks with top officials in Taipei for a five-day visit.
“The senators are making the visit despite threats from the Chinese ambassador to France, showing their steadfast commitment to the spirit of freedom and democracy,” Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.
Tensions between Beijing and Taipei have also been rising in recent days with increased Chinese military activity in Taiwan’s air defense zone.
China opposes any international engagement, such as foreign visits, with Taiwan.
In February, China’s ambassador to France wrote to the leader of the French delegation, Alain Richard, urging him to cancel the visit.
Beijing then said the trip would “clearly violate the one-China principle and send the wrong signal to pro-independence forces in Taiwan.”
In more recent comments, the Chinese embassy also warned that the trip would damage the interests of China, Chinese-French relations and “the image of France.”