In an exclusive interview on Tuesday, Jean-François Casabonne-Masonnave, director of the French office in Taipei, said he wanted to share the joy of the French on the occasion of the national holiday, which falls on July 14, with all Taiwanese friends.
A national day reception was scheduled to take place in Taipei to celebrate the unity of the French people, but it was canceled due to the current COVID-19 alert in Taiwan, he added.
Nonetheless, Casabonne-Masonnave said he hoped a reception could take place next year and asked his compatriots in Taiwan to be patient and remain grateful to Taiwan despite the drawbacks of the COVID control measures. -19.
“We must not forget, of course, that we are safe here in Taiwan, more than anywhere else in the world,” he said.
During the interview, Casabonne-Masonnave also said that the perception of Taiwan in France is much better than two or three years ago.
This is due to Taiwan’s vibrant freedom and democracy, especially in relation to the erosion of these rights in Hong Kong, as well as Taiwan’s effectiveness in handling the COVID-19 pandemic, a he declared.
In addition, Taiwan’s progress in promoting human rights, such as legalizing same-sex marriage in 2019, has also increased its visibility in France, he said.
“The way democracy works in Taiwan is closest to Europe, from my point of view,” he said. “Cooperation in the field of human rights and democracy is something we can do in the region with Taiwan, and we don’t have as many partners as possible. “
Asked about France’s presence in the Indo-Pacific region, Casabonne-Masonnave said his country and other great powers had long been in the region to maintain freedom of navigation.
France has undertaken military exercises with regional partners and “what is new is that we have more partners”, he declared.
On the situation in the Taiwan Strait, Casabonne-Masonnave stressed that “we want peace and stability for all”.
Asked about the prospect of a trade pact between Taiwan and France, he said that European public opinion today is not in favor of discussing free trade agreements (FTAs) as protectionism increases. .
He argued that Taiwan and France currently do not need an FTA as French investment in Taiwan has reached $ 1.25 billion despite the absence of such an agreement.
What the French government wants to work on is attracting more Taiwanese investments and creating opportunities for more economic cooperation, because there is currently less than $ 100 million in Taiwanese investments in France, he said. he declares.