FRANCE TELLS CHINA: FOCUS ON COVID-19, NOT ON ARMS DEAL
France has brushed off China’s strident complaint about its weapons deals with Taiwan, arguing that Beijing is out of whack for interfering in business contracts and telling China to just concentrate on battling the COVID-19 pandemic instead, just days after six new cases rattled Wuhan City, the pandemic’s original epicenter, and 14 more in Shulan City in Jilin province that abuts North Korea.
Paris had supplied Taiwan with six Lafayette-class frigates 30 years ago and Taipei seeks to buys weapons systems to upgrade the capability of its warships, something that has rankled Beijing, which maintains that such move would harm Sino-French relations since it violates the “one-China” policy that is the anchor of its diplomatic ties with other nations.
A report by France 24 news program on May 13, 2020 said Taiwan is mostly equipped with US-made weapons, but in 1991 France sold Taiwan six Lafayette frigates, which miffed China, and rubbed more salt on Beijing’s injury by dispatching 60 Mirage fighter jets to Taipei the following year.
Speaking in Beijing on Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said “China resolutely opposed any arms sales to Taiwan. We have already expressed our serious concern to France. "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," the spokesman added. France rejected the Chinese criticism, saying it was merely fulfilling contractual obligations and was abiding with the ‘one-China” policy agreed with China in 1994 and that everyone's focus at this time should be on fighting the epidemic. #COVID19