President Tsai Ing-wen met with a delegation led by Chairman Jean-Francois Cesarini of the French National Assembly's France-Taiwan Parliamentary Friendship Group on the morning of September 23. The president stated that Taiwan and France continue to deepen cooperation in many areas including offshore wind power, environmental protection, culture, economics, and military affairs, and that we have a strong foundation for continued growth in bilateral relations.
A translation of the president's remarks follows:
This is the third year in a row that Chairman Cesarini has visited Taiwan, and come to the Presidential Office for in-depth exchanges. For the other members of the delegation, this is your first visit, so let me offer you all a very warm welcome.
I would also like to offer a special thanks to Chairman Cesarini for supporting Taiwan. In addition to his frequent visits, he has stood up for Taiwan regarding South China Sea issues, and supported our participation in the WHA. Early this year, when China once again proposed the "one country, two systems" model for Taiwan, and did not renounce the use of force, Chairman Cesarini spoke up on Taiwan's behalf.
For some time now, Chairman Cesarini has shared Taiwan's concern about the anti-extradition movement in Hong Kong. He also initiated an open letter, signed by 20 members of parliamentary including all the delegates here today, calling on the Beijing authorities to replace violence with dialogue, and directly address the Hong Kong public's demands for democracy. Everything that the members of this delegation have done is a testament to the values of freedom and democracy that Taiwan and France share. Taiwan is a beacon of democracy, and thanks to the support of our friends here today, that democracy continues to light up the world.
I'm sure you've all seen that China is hoping to make Taiwan submit by poaching our diplomatic allies. But Taiwan will never bow to pressure, and we will continue our efforts to embrace the international community.
Over the past few years, Taiwan and France have developed a closer partnership. And we continue to deepen cooperation in many areas including offshore wind power, environmental protection, culture, economics, and military affairs.
In Taiwan's aviation market, Airbus aircraft are also becoming more popular. Tourist arrivals from France are increasing every year, and last year grew over 12 percent. Next month, our Tourism Bureau will participate in a tourism trade show in Paris, so we hope that more friends from France will do what you have done, and visit us to learn more about Taiwan.
We believe we have a strong foundation for continued growth in Taiwan-France relations. Last year was a prime example. Chairman Cesarini gave our Legislative Yuan President Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) a warm reception, and he became Taiwan's first Legislative Yuan president to enter the French National Assembly.
Once again, I would like to thank all of you here today for supporting Taiwan, and I hope you will enjoy your visit. Thank you.
Guests also included France-Taiwan Parliamentary Friendship Group members Stéphane Claireaux, Monica Michel, Valérie Thomas, Delphine Bagarry, and Claire Pitollat.