On the morning of October 7, President Tsai Ing-wen conferred the Order of Propitious Clouds with Special Grand Cordon upon French Senator Alain Richard, the chairman of the French Senate's Taiwan Friendship Group, in recognition of his groundbreaking work to strengthen bilateral relations. In remarks, President Tsai thanked France for drawing international attention to the importance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, and for supporting Taiwan's international participation. The president further stated that Taiwan will continue to carry out its responsibility as a member of the international community to maintain peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region, and expressed hope that Taiwan and France can together contribute more to the world.
A translation of President Tsai's remarks follows:
I want to welcome Senator Alain Richard, chairman of the French Senate's Taiwan Friendship Group, and Senator Olivier Cadic back to Taiwan, and would also like to extend a warm welcome to Senator Max Brisson and Senator Else Joseph, deputy chairs of the group who are visiting Taiwan for the first time.
The last time I met Chairman Richard was in 2018, just over two months after a serious earthquake in Hualien. I remember clearly that you made a special trip to Hualien to better understand the situation, and showed deep concern for what the people of Taiwan were going through. You have continued to keep a close eye on happenings in Taiwan over the years, and have led this delegation to Taiwan, your third so far, in the face of considerable pressure and in observance of strict disease prevention protocols, for which we are deeply grateful.
Looking back on everything that Chairman Richard has done for Taiwan over the years, we can see that you have been a pioneer in expanding our bilateral relationship, continuously breaking new ground. In May 2019, for example, the French Senate formally invited members of our Legislative Yuan to visit France. And this past May, thanks in no small part to the efforts of Chairman Richard and the other senators of the Taiwan Friendship Group with us here today, the French Senate for the first time ever passed a resolution in support of Taiwan's participation in international organizations. These are all significant milestones on our road to deeper bilateral ties.
This conferral of the Order of Propitious Clouds with Special Grand Cordon is a recognition of Chairman Richard's many contributions to Taiwan-France relations as well as a symbol of Taiwan's deep gratitude. To you, Chairman Richard, I would like to say that your visit feels like a family member in France has come back home to visit. Once again, I welcome you!
In recent years, Taiwan and France have enjoyed particularly close ties in trade and technology, and we have fought together against the pandemic. Last year, Taiwan's Representative to France François Chih-Chung Wu (吳志中) was invited to speak before the French Senate about Taiwan's pandemic response. Moving forward, we also hope to cooperate more closely in the area of industrial development.
I also want to take this opportunity to thank France for drawing international attention to the importance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, and for supporting Taiwan's international participation. As a member of the international community, Taiwan will continue to carry out our responsibility to maintain peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region, and we hope that, by working alongside France, we can contribute more to the world.
Taiwan-France cooperation spans a wide range of different fields. The French Parliament has always been a powerful driving force behind our bilateral exchanges, and today's visit by you senators provides ample proof of this. Once again, I would like to thank Chairman Richard and all the members of the visiting delegation. Your deeply meaningful visit is a strong sign of support for Taiwan.
We welcome visits by officials and others in France, who, like Chairman Richard, are working to break new ground in our bilateral relationship. Let us continue striving to expand Taiwan-France exchanges.
In his own remarks, Chairman Alain Richard expressed gratitude at being given such a high honor by President Tsai, calling it a great show of support for the friendship between Taiwan and France. Chairman Richard dedicated the honor to his colleagues in the French Senate, who had approved this trip and who, at the recommendation of the Taiwan Friendship Group, had passed the May 6 resolution supporting Taiwan's participation in the UN's specialized agencies.
Chairman Richard said that France, like many other countries around the world, stands in support of Taiwan because of its significant contributions in many fields, including economic development, the effective use of technology in health applications, and world peace.
Chairman Richard thanked everyone across Taiwan's government, the Legislative Yuan, Taiwan's representative office in France, and the French Office in Taipei who has worked to advance bilateral relations, and added that he has full trust in the French Office in Taipei.
Among those who attended the ceremony were French Senate Taiwan Friendship Group Secretary Judith Bout, French Office in Taipei Director Jean-François Casabonne-Masonnave, French Office in Taipei Deputy Director Guillaume Delvallée, Secretary-General to the President David T. Lee (李大維), and Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮).