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France responds to China over Taiwan's warship upgrade: 'Let's focus on the Covid-19 epidemic'


France on May 13 responded to Chinese warnings regarding the French sale of weapons to Taiwan.

Earlier, China's Foreign Ministry warned France of a contract between Paris and Taipei. Accordingly, Taiwan plans to buy weapons from France, as part of a plan to upgrade the French-made warship fleet that Taiwan bought 30 years ago.

According to Reuters, France said it made the existing agreements and that China should focus on fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.

"In this context, France respects the commitments it has made to Taiwan and has not changed its position since 1994." 
the French Foreign Ministry said in a statement that:
 "Facing the Covid-19 crisis, all our attention and efforts should focus on combating the epidemic."
China declares Taiwan part of its "one China" policy and this principle must be accepted by any country with diplomatic ties. Arms sales to Taiwan are a very sensitive topic and often provoke a strong reaction from Beijing.

In 1991, France sold Taiwan six Lafayette-class missile defense vessels for $ 2.8 billion. In 1992, France sold 60 Mirage fighters to Taiwan.

According to Taiwanese media, the island was planning to modernize its warships under French help. The process consists of installing Dagaie MK2 heat trap launching system of French DCI Group. Estimated contract value 26.8 million USD.

In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lian-Kien declared that China resolutely opposed any arms sales to Taiwan, and demanded that France withdraw its arms sales plan.

This is not the first time France and China have disagreed. The French Foreign Ministry on April 14 summoned Chinese ambassador Lu Sa Ye to protest a series of controversial comments by the Chinese embassy in France criticizing the West for handling Covid-19.

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