President Tsai confers medal on visiting French Senator Alain Richard

10/07/2021 04:52 PM
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President Tsai Ing-wen (right) with French Senator Alain Richard at the award ceremony on Thursday. CNA photo Oct. 7, 2021
President Tsai Ing-wen (right) with French Senator Alain Richard at the award ceremony on Thursday. CNA photo Oct. 7, 2021

Taipei, Oct. 7 (CNA) President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Thursday decorated French Senator Alain Richard with a national medal, in recognition of his contribution to the development of relations between his country and Taiwan.

Richard, who heads the French Senate's Taiwan Friendship Group, was awarded the Order of Propitious Clouds with Special Grand Cordon, a civilian order that can be conferred on citizens or foreign nationals.

At the award ceremony at the Presidential Office in Taipei, Tsai said Richard had "pioneered" exchanges between Taiwan and France for many years, blazing a trail for the development of bilateral ties.

Tsai said it was very heart-warming to see that Richard, along with other members of the Senate's friendship group, was visiting Taiwan for the third time, despite external pressure.

Richard's visit to Taiwan is like the return of "family members in France," she said.

The French Senate has always been the greatest advocate for the development of Taiwan-France relations, and the current visit by Richard and other senators is proof of its support, Tsai said.

Two of the major milestones in the exchanges between Taiwan and France were initiated by the French Senate, Tsai said, citing its passage of a resolution in May to support Taiwan's participation in international organizations and its invitation in 2019 for Taiwanese legislators to visit France.

In Richard's acceptance speech, he said he was dedicating the honor to all members of the French Senate, who had approved his trip to Taiwan and passed the resolution on Taiwan's international participation.

"Like many other countries, we support Taiwan," Richard said, adding that Taiwan has "contributed greatly" in many areas internationally, including the application of healthcare technology and preservation of harmony in the international community.

Prior to Richard's five-day visit to Taiwan, Beijing had repeatedly voiced its objections, saying such a trip would be a violation of France's one-China policy.

(By Yeh Su-ping and Chiang Yi-ching)

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