• China views Taiwan as part of its own territory
  • Taiwan plans to purchase the Dagaie MK2 decoy launcher from France’s Groupe DCI
  • In 1991 Paris sold six Lafayette frigates to Taiwan for $2.8 billion

China’s Foreign Ministry has urged France to cancel its contract to sell arms to Taiwan in order to avoid hurting diplomatic relations between Paris and Beijing.

China views Taiwan as part of its own territory and strongly objects to any military deals involving the island and foreign nations.

Zhao Lijian, a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, asked France to observe its “one China” policy.

“We have already expressed our serious concern to France,” Zhao said. “We again urge the French side to abide by the ‘one China’ principle and withdraw the arms sale plan to Taiwan to avoid harming Sino-French relations.”

Zhao added: “We stand against foreign arms sales to Taiwan or having military and security exchanges with the island, and this stance is consistent and clear.”

Last month, Taiwan said it would upgrade the missile interference systems on its fleet of Lafayette frigates, which were built by France more than two decades ago. Specifically, Taiwan plans to purchase the Dagaie MK2 decoy launcher from a subsidiary of France’s Groupe DCI for at least $26.8 million.

In response, French officials have shrugged off Beijing’s warnings and asserted that China should focus its energies on fighting the coronavirus pandemic instead.

“France respects the contractual commitments it made with Taiwan,” the French foreign ministry said in a statement. “Facing the COVID-19 crisis, all our attention and efforts should be focused on battling the pandemic.”

Most of Taiwan’s military hardware has been supplied by the U.S., however in 1991 Paris sold six Lafayette frigates to Taiwan for $2.8 billion, prompting Chinese outrage. The following year, France sold 60 Mirage fighter jets to Taiwan.

Taiwan officials have asserted that the country needs to upgrade its armed forces in order to cope with the threat posed by China – Beijing has accelerated military drills near the island.

Indeed, a U.S. congressional report from the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission warned that the Chinese military is using the coronavirus pandemic to increase its military aggressions against Taipei.

Foreign Policy reported that the warnings came as Republicans are urging the Trump administration to improve relations with Taiwan.

Last November, Heino Klinck, the U.S. deputy assistant secretary of defense for East Asia, visited Taiwan to explore ways to upgrade its defenses.

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper and other senior Defense Department officials have also raised concerns about recent Chinese military action in the South China Sea, including the sinking of a Vietnamese fishing boat.

The report also highlighted how China has pressure the World health Organization to exclude Taiwan from some of its Covid-19-related activities.

“Taiwan’s exclusion also contributed to critical delays in WHO member states’ receipt of timely and accurate guidance in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the report said. “Had the WHO allowed Taiwan’s health experts to share information and best practices in early January, governments around the world could have had more complete information on which to base their public health policies.”

Rep. Mike Gallagher (R.-Wis.), a member of the new China Task Force, wrote in National Review: “Now is the time for a declaratory statement of policy committing the United States to the defense of Taiwan. While this approach is not without risk, as we have learned painfully from decades of failed policy toward the [Chinese Communist Party], the greatest risk of all comes from complacency.”