French Representative to Taiwan Jean-François Casabonne-Masonnave on Thursday urged Taiwan's government to reopen the country's borders so bilateral cooperation can "flourish again," at an event marking the national day of France, also known as Bastille Day, in Taipei.
Cooperation between Taiwan and France has been "particularly rich and diverse in the cultural, scientific, university, economic and commercial fields" said Casabonne-Masonnave, who heads the French Office in Taipei, which represents Paris' interests in the country in the absence of official diplomatic relations with Taipei.
While the two sides will continue to collaborate on cultural affairs, the promotion of human rights, academic exchange and the development of technology, the director said, "for this cooperation to flourish again, there remains the need for borders to reopen."
He added that French students and representatives from political, economic, cultural and scientific fields are eager to return to Taiwan to resume or start new projects.
Although Taiwan has gradually eased its entry restrictions in recent months, the authorities continue to ban most non-resident foreign nationals from entering the country.
Commenting on Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Casabonne-Masonnave said Taiwan had joined France and other European countries to "demonstrate our solidarity with the Ukrainian people to relieve their suffering and help in the fight for their freedom."
The war in Ukraine has not affected France's determination to deploy a policy of peace, cooperation and vigilance in the Indo-Pacific region, the director said.
"France, with its European partners, will keep on carrying a message of stability, peace, and cooperation," he said, adding "it will continue to actively and concretely ensure respect of international law and freedom of navigation."
Meanwhile, Taiwan's Deputy Foreign Minister Tien Chung-kwang (???) told the event that shared values such as love of freedom and democracy have brought France, Taiwan and other like-minded countries together to "repel the threat that authoritarian expansionism poses to democracies"
Taiwan's government thanked France for voicing support for the country's international participation, Tien said, adding that it looks forward to forging even stronger relations with France in the future.
Thursday's event, the first physical celebration held by the French Office in Taipei for Bastille Day since 2019, was also attended by Legislative Yuan speaker You Si-kun (???), Secretary-General of the National Security Council Wellington Koo (???), and James Soong (???), founder of the People First Party, among other Taiwan politicians and representative of foreign missions in Taiwan.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel