Six French deputies, led by François de Rugy, president of the “International study group on issues related to the expansion of the Taiwanese economy” visited Taiwan from December 15 to 19. A trip that follows the adoption, on November 29 by the National Assembly, of a resolution “In favor of Taiwan’s association with the work of international organizations and multilateral cooperation forums”. During this trip, the deputies (three from the majority, three from the opposition) met the president, Tsai Ing-wen, the prime minister, Su Tseng-chang, several ministers and several parliamentarians.
Unlike Alain Richard, his Senate counterpart who visited the island in early October, François de Rugy did not qualify Taiwan as « pays ». “We are not here to outbid the Taiwanese leaders”, specifies M. de Rugy to World, indicating that it is “In favor of dialogue with everyone”. Unlike the senators, the deputies did not receive before their departure a letter from the Chinese embassy in Paris asking them to give up this trip.
During it, Taiwanese officials, according to Mr. de Rugy, both thanked the French deputies for the vote at the end of November but also expressed their wish to negotiate an investment agreement with the European Union and expressed their desire to meet members of the French government. However, Paris, which recognizes only one China and does not maintain official diplomatic relations with Taiwan, has never taken this step.
Democracy at work
For their part, the French intend to take advantage of this trip to “Raise awareness of the democratic reality of Taiwan” on their return, explains M. de Rugy.
The French deputies, although traveling in a “sanitary bubble” preventing any contact with the population were able to see this democracy at work. On Saturday, December 18, four referendums were held. For a question submitted to a referendum to be approved, at least a quarter of registered voters must vote in favor and there must be more yeses than no.
The questions concerned the start-up of a fourth nuclear power plant, a new ban on the importation of pigs containing traces of ractopamine (a doping drug), the possible organization of referendums on the same day as the general elections and on the relocation of a liquefied natural gas terminal project.
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French MPs visit Taiwan in the midst of the referendum campaign