The Legislative Yuan yesterday established the Taiwan-France Parliamentary Friendship Group to improve bilateral relations with France.
During a ceremony at the Legislative Yuan, Francois Brottes, chairman of the France-Taiwan Parliamentary Friendship Group in France, said the establishment of the Taiwan-based group would help promote exchanges and understanding in a spirit of cordiality.
He said the French body noted the changes in the relations between Taiwan and China with interest, especially in the context of the current economic crisis.
“We follow with interest the evolution of new dialogues between the two sides [of the Taiwan Strait] in the region,” he said. “The warming relationship with the continent [China] seems to be, for us, a new perspective for [the] future.”
On the issue of public health, he said members of his group would listen to Taiwan’s views and make sure that the nation’s wish to participate in the World Health Assembly would be heard.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Yang Li-huan (楊麗環), who studied in Grenoble, France, was named chairwoman of the Taiwanese friendship group.
Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) said he expected the group to further promote the already substantial relations between Taiwan and France.
France is an important partner for Taiwan in the areas of commerce, tourism, culture and technology, he said.
The inauguration was attended by officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, several legislators and representatives of the French Institute in Taipei, including director, Patrick Bonneville.
The friendship group is comprised of 57 Taiwanese legislators — about half the lawmakers in the Legislative Yuan — and 33 members of the French parliament.