France has offered Taiwan military equipment maintenance services, but it cannot reveal details, French Senator Alain Richard said in Taipei yesterday.
A delegation led by the senior senator, who is also a former defense minister, arrived in Taiwan on Wednesday and is scheduled to leave tomorrow night. Other delegation members include French senators Max Brisson, Else Joseph and Olivier Cadic.
The delegation on Wednesday visited the Hsinchu Air Base to see French-made Mirage 2000 jets stationed there, before meeting with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Thursday, a source familiar with the matter told the Taipei Times.
Richard and other delegation members did not comment on the air base visit when asked about it, nor did the air force.
The Ministry of National Defense last month said it signed a technical support agreement with Mirage jet manufacturer Dassault Aviation. The NT$796.9 million (US$28.41 million) deal, which is to last until Sept. 13, 2026, would aid the air force’s operation of Mirage 2000-5 fighters, local media reported.
France has offered maintenance services for aviation and navigation equipment purchased from the country over the past two years, but it cannot yet share the details, Richard said.
Although China often casts itself as a stabilizing force, its increased activity near Taiwan has alarmed many countries and underscored the importance of peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region, he said.
Asked if he fears retaliation from Beijing for visiting Taiwan, Richard said the trip does not contradict French diplomatic policy or relations with China.
He said that Chinese Ambassador to France Lu Shaye (盧沙野) in February wrote a letter asking him to cancel the trip, warning that it might have a negative impact on France-China relations.
He said he told Lu that the visit was not counter to French foreign policy.
The delegation was not “pressured” by Beijing, as some media have claimed; it just has different views from China, he said.
Richard also said that Taiwan signing a bilateral investment agreement with the EU was possible.
The delegation was invited to the opening of the Shawan History and Culture Park (沙灣歷史文化園區) in Keelung today.
The park contains some heritage from the Sino-French War in 1884, during which Keelung was a battlefield, the Keelung City Government said.
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