TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – France’s envoy to Taiwan Jean-François Casabonne-Masonnave said on Wednesday (July 14th) that Taiwan has been a hot topic in the European nation for the past two years.
Casabonne-Masonnave said in an interview with the CNA that Taiwan’s visibility in France and Europe has increased significantly for two reasons. As Beijing tightens its grip on Hong Kong and removes individual freedoms, Taiwan stands out as a strong democracy in the Asia-Pacific region, he said. Additionally, Taiwan’s epidemic prevention measures have been extremely effective in warding off the coronavirus.
The French representative said Lithuania’s decision to establish a trade office in Taipei demonstrates Europe’s support for Taiwan. Europe and Taiwan share the same values of democracy and human rights, he said, adding that the governance model of the East Asian nation is the most similar to that of the ‘Europe.
The diplomat also mentioned that French Navy ships have been sailing in the Indo-Pacific region for many years. In April 2019, the Floréal Le Vendémiaire-class frigate crossed the Taiwan Strait.
Casabonne-Masonnave said France has always advocated for freedom of navigation as part of its regional policy. “The only novelty is the way we are implementing our Indo-Pacific strategy,” he said, citing CNA.
He added that France will conduct joint exercises with regional partners such as India, Japan, the United States and Australia, to defend the right to freedom of navigation.
Regarding Taiwan-France cooperation, the representative said COVID-19 has shown how weak the global supply chain is. The two countries can work together to expand the source of suppliers to reduce reliance on a single source, he said.
Casabonne-Masonnave said that France continues to promote human rights and democracy in the Asia-Pacific region, adding that Taiwan is a regional partner who can promote values common to other countries by sharing information and experiences.