On the morning of November 15, President Tsai Ing-wen met with Mr. Jean-François Cesarini, Member of the French National Assembly and Chairman of the France-Taiwan Parliamentary Friendship Group. At the meeting, President Tsai thanked the France-Taiwan Parliamentary Friendship Group for its longstanding support for Taiwan, and spoke of her hope that the two countries will continue to work together on the digital economy and remain major startup and tech nations.
While addressing the visitors, President Tsai expressed her delight to once again be receiving Chairman Cesarini at the Presidential Office, and she warmly welcomed the members of the France-Taiwan Parliamentary Friendship Group to Taiwan. In July 2018, inter-parliamentary diplomacy between Taiwan and France achieved a historical first when Mr. Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) became the first Legislative Yuan President from Taiwan to set foot in the French National Assembly.
The president relayed that it was Chairman Cesarini who received and took care of President Su during his visit. Chairman Cesarini even composed a song entitled "Taiwan" to commemorate the occasion, and to make known our countries' shared pursuit of democracy and human rights. She thanked the chairman deeply for his thoughtfulness and support.
President Tsai then quoted Chairman Cesarini, who called Taiwan "our brothers of democracy in Asia." We are equally thrilled, she said, to share the universal values of democracy, freedom, and human rights with France, and we are pivotal partners. France is Taiwan's fourth largest trading partner in Europe, and interactions between the two have grown ever closer in the past two plus years. For instance, in 2016, there were only four direct flights per week between Taipei and Paris, but the number increased to ten per week this year. This growth reflects the rise of people-to-people exchanges and tourism between the two countries, said President Tsai.
She also lauded active efforts to expand cooperation between the two countries by French Office in Taipei Director Benoît Guidée, who was present, and Taiwan's representative in France, François Wu Chih-chung (吳志中). President Tsai then added that this year, our Ministry of Science and Technology is working with the French Office in Taipei to spur further startup exchanges, allowing Taiwanese and French teams to spend time and grow in each other's countries. This, she hoped, would help cultivate great startup companies.
President Tsai continued by saying that she looked forward to continued cooperation and exchanges between the two countries on the digital economy, so that Taiwan and France will remain major startup and tech nations. She also reiterated her thanks to the delegation members and the France-Taiwan Parliamentary Friendship Group for their support, which has been key to the continued strengthening of the partnership between Taiwan and France.
Finally, President Tsai said that the current visit would lead to even more interactions and deeper mutual understanding, and that bilateral cooperation and exchanges will only grow. She extended an invitation to even more friends from the French government and society to frequently visit Taiwan to strengthen bilateral ties.
The delegation also included France-Taiwan Parliamentary Friendship Group members Thierry Michels, Anne-France Brunet, and Nicole Trisse.