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The planned representative office in the city of Aix-en-Provence is located in a privileged area for Taiwanese travelers and has high-speed rail access
- By Lin Chia-nan / reporter
The representative office of Taipei in France will open a new branch in Aix-en-Provence to strengthen bilateral relations in trade, technology and tourism, the foreign ministry announced yesterday.
It would be the country’s second new representative office this year, after Taiwan’s representative office opened in Somaliland last week.
The ministry’s announcement came after Chinese-language news site Up Media announced on Monday that Marseille and Lyon were the ministry’s favorite places, but it opted for Aix-en-Provence on mutual consensus with officials French.
The Aix-en-Provence office would be the country’s second unit in France, the director general of the Ministry of European Affairs, Johnson Chiang (姜森), said yesterday at a press conference in Taipei.
The opening date is to be determined, while some ministry staff are reportedly leaving for Aix-en-Provence for preparations, he said.
Negotiations with France over the new office went on “for a while,” he said, avoiding questions from the media about the start of the talks.
When asked if China had lobbied the office preparations, Chiang said he would not specifically comment on the matter, but added that the creation of the new office was mutually beneficial for Taiwan and France.
From 2016 to last year, the number of Taiwanese visiting France increased by 62%, while French visitors to Taiwan increased by almost 30%, he said.
Taiwan and France continue to deepen bilateral exchanges in the fields of trade, technology, culture and education, while cooperation in aerospace and biotechnology is also promising, said he added.
Aix-en-Provence is part of the Aix-Marseille-Provence metropolis in southern France – one of the top destinations for Taiwanese tourists – and has a high-speed train station, he said. .
The city offers comfort comparable to other places, such as Lyon, the second largest city in France; Montpellier, world hub for biological research; the Sophia Antipolis technological park, which houses cutting-edge research in France; Grenoble, which is considered the Silicon Valley of France; and Toulouse, which is home to the country’s aerospace technology, he said.
Grenoble, Toulouse, Nice and Paris have become home to French artificial intelligence (AI) research centers after the country presented its AI development strategy in 2018, said Chang Chung-pai (張 中 白) , director of the science and technology division of the representative office. in Paris.
The technological cooperation between Taiwan and France mainly focuses on innovation, as well as research in biomedicine, natural sciences and sustainable development, he said.
The Franco-Taiwanese Scientific Grand Prix will mark its 22nd edition this year, he added.
The national applied research laboratories have also signed agreements with the French National Center for Space Studies and CEA-Leti to promote cooperation in space and semiconductor research, he said.
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