Taiwan seeks support after Chinese incursions

Taiwan's president Tsai Ing-wen told senior French and Australian dignitaries on Thursday (October 7) that the island seeks to work with other like-minded democracies and will ensure regional peace.

The trips by four French senators and former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott come after four straight days of mass Chinese air force incursions into Taiwan's air defence zone.

The French senators met with Tsai at the presidential palace, despite strong objections from China which is always angered by visits of foreign officials.

Tsai said Taiwan was "very moved" that the French senators decided to come, despite what she described as "pressure" - a reference to China.

"I want to take this opportunity to thank France for paying attention to the importance of the Taiwan Strait in the international arena and supporting Taiwan's international participation."

Tsai gave a similar message in later remarks to Abbott, who told her he was in Taiwan to help end its international isolation, praising its democracy and handling of the global health crisis.

"Not everyone and not everywhere is pleased at Taiwan's progress, and I do note that Taiwan is challenged on an almost daily basis by its giant neighbor."

Tsai did not directly mention the recent Chinese air force activities in public comments at her meetings with the senators or with Abbott.

Neither France nor Australia have formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan, like most countries.

But the island has sought support from them both, as well as the U.S. and its other allies.

China claims Taiwan as its own territory and has been exerting growing military and political pressure towards Taipei.

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