ROC, France’s most important partner in Asia

Nancy T. Lu, The China Post

The time came once more to extend the greeting, “Vive la France!” Foreign Affairs Vice Minister Chiou Jong-nan did it on behalf of the government and the people of the Republic of China on Taiwan at the French National Day reception hosted by the French Institute of Taipei yesterday.

Elisabeth Laurin, director of the French Institute of Taipei, took the opportunity to cite Taiwan as France’s “most important partner in Asia.” She pointed out that the French export volume to Taiwan reached 2.14 billion euros in the last year, breaking a five-year record. Chiou, a Francophone who exchanged toasts with Laurin 213 years after the French Revolution broke out, spoke of a “very developed relationship” between Taiwan and France, making special mention of the US$3.3 billion commerce registered last year. This record of commercial exchange, he said, put France in fourth place among Taiwan’s European partners.

Laurin happily announced that the China Airlines and EVA Airways have found the performances of the delivered Airbus planes rather satisfying.

She read in Taiwan’s entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) as likely to bring more opportunities for promoting better relations.

Not overlooked by Chiou were the frequent cultural and educational exchanges between Taiwan and France.

Laurin said that the Francophones in Taiwan have emerged the most rapidly growing group in Asia. She acknowledged the big presence of French language teachers and professors at the Bastille Day reception, which unfolded at noon at the Grand Hyatt Taipei’s ballroom.

She thanked the government of Taiwan for the support of the European School up on Yangmingshan. A string quartet played music by French composers during the reception.