On the morning of June 9, President Tsai Ing-wen presented Vice President of the French Senate Foreign Affairs, Defense and Armed Forces Committee Joël Guerriau with the Order of Propitious Clouds with Grand Cordon, in recognition of his contributions to Taiwan-France relations. In remarks, President Tsai thanked France for voicing support for Taiwan at the World Health Assembly (WHA), demonstrating its firm friendship. The president also expressed hope that Taiwan and France will continue to deepen cooperation in all areas, while accelerating progress on the signing of a bilateral investment agreement between Taiwan and the EU, so that we can jointly develop more resilient supply chains.
A translation of President Tsai's remarks follows:
Let me begin by welcoming Vice President Guerriau and Senator Sylvie Goy-Chavent back to Taiwan. Today I am also delighted to see Vice President [of the Finance Committee] Vincent Eblé, Senator Dany Wattebled, and Senator Ludovic Haye who are visiting Taiwan for the first time.
Over the past few years, Taiwan-France legislative exchanges have grown by leaps and bounds. Last year the French Senate and National Assembly reached numerous milestones in promoting our bilateral friendship, as both houses passed resolutions in support of Taiwan, and the chairmen of their respective Taiwan Friendship Groups led delegations to visit Taiwan. Your visit once again shows the importance that the French Parliament places on Taiwan, and has great significance for our bilateral relationship.
Here, I want to thank each and every one of you for supporting Taiwan. At the WHA last month, we saw France speak up for Taiwan, while Vice President Guerriau also sent World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus a letter reiterating that 304 French parliamentarians back Taiwan's WHA participation, demonstrating firm friendship and support for Taiwan.
Today, on behalf of the people of Taiwan, I have conferred the Order of Propitious Clouds with Grand Cordon on Vice President Guerriau to thank him for his efforts and contributions to Taiwan-France relations. We also look forward to continuing to deepen our cooperation in all areas.
For the first half of this year, France is the rotating president of the EU Council, and this past February, the EU passed the European Chips Act, which recognizes Taiwan's advanced chip technology and highlights the EU's willingness to cooperate. The Taiwan-EU Trade and Investment Dialogue held last week was upgraded to the ministerial level for the first time, and included in-depth exchanges on cooperation in semiconductor chips and the offshore wind power industry.
That dialogue was an important milestone in deepening our bilateral economic partnership. At the beginning of this year, I proposed the Taiwan-Europe Connectivity Initiative, which I hope will accelerate and promote the signing of a bilateral investment agreement between Taiwan and the EU, helping us work together to develop resilient supply chains.
Taiwan, France, and the EU are like-minded partners, and I firmly believe that our collective efforts can spur mutual progress and development for all of our countries and advance the well-being of all of our peoples.
Let me close by once again welcoming you all. You are all dear friends of Taiwan. Let's work together and continue to enhance Taiwan-France relations.
Vice President Guerriau then delivered remarks, noting that while this is only his second time here, he already feels a close bond with Taiwan, as if it were his second home. Vice President Guerriau also expressed his deep pride at being awarded the Order of Propitious Clouds with Grand Cordon, saying that with this honor, it is his duty to stand up for Taiwan in any setting or situation.
Vice President Guerriau said that Taiwan's Representative to France Francois Chih-Chung Wu (吳志中) had made a passionate case for working toward the benefit of Taiwan. And because of Representative Wu and his colleague Yen Chia-liang's (顏嘉良) efforts, the vice president said, he and his French colleagues were convinced of the need to mobilize for Taiwan's cause. The vice president stated that this is why he and his colleagues continue to take concerted action to support Taiwan, while also taking part in many efforts that help uphold Taiwan's interests.
Stating that he and his colleagues see Taiwan as a model, Vice President Guerriau lauded Taiwan for its staunch commitment to democratic values as well as its strong economy and industrial sector, which have allowed it to become one of the top performers in Asia. The vice president added that despite attempts to isolate it, Taiwan had opened its doors to the world, fighting day after day for its survival, and that although some major countries are working to obstruct its participation in international organizations, Taiwan has continued to share its expertise in medical, industrial, humanitarian, and other matters with the international community, demonstrating its immense capabilities and the courage that both its leaders and citizens represent.
Taiwan has repeatedly proved that it is a cornerstone of regional stability, and has demonstrated admirable perseverance and resilience, said Vice President Guerriau, who noted that the resolution the French Senate passed last year, which President Tsai mentioned in her remarks, had been drafted jointly by himself and Senator Alain Richard, chairman of the French Senate's Taiwan Friendship Group. Vice President Guerriau reiterated his commitment to maintain support for Taiwan, which he shares with his colleagues present at the meeting and in France, saying that this is how the French Senate makes clear its staunch support for Taiwan.
Mentioning that he had attended an online discussion held the previous week as part of the Taipei International Book Exhibition, and that a new Mandarin-French bilingual edition of his book with new illustrations had been published in Taiwan, Vice President Guerriau said he believes that French authors working with Taiwanese illustrators to unite two different cultures is a celebration of the friendship between Taiwan and France, adding that if the book finds success, he hopes to put his royalties toward advancing the Taiwan-France friendship
Vice President Guerriau emphasized that the decoration he received from President Tsai symbolizes that he now belongs to a group of people safeguarding Taiwan, and that he has the responsibility to prove he can live up to that honor. He further assured President Tsai that he will help Taiwan resist its oppressors, advance freedom in Taiwan, and stand against those who oppose a free Taiwan, while also helping demonstrate Taiwan's excellence to those who overlook it.
Expressing his genuine hope that Taiwan will always be a star that lights up a world longing for more democracy and peace, Vice President Guerriau concluded his remarks by saying, "Vive le Taïwan, Vive la France."
Among those also in attendance at the ceremony were French Office in Taipei Director Jean-François Casabonne-Masonnave and Deputy Director Guillaume Delvallée, Secretary-General to the President David T. Lee (李大維), Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), and Taiwan's Representative to France Francois Chih-Chung Wu.