Minister of Culture Lung Ying-tai (龍應台) said on Tuesday in Paris that she was impressed by the Institut Francais after visiting the agency, which is part of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Lung and institute president Xavier Darcos reached a consensus on cooperation to discuss movie exchanges and arts villages.
Lung said cooperation with France would have a far-reaching effect and that France’s strong influence in Arabian countries means that the country could provide a gateway to that region.
She also said that the institute attaches great importance to cultural diplomacy, which in France is strongly bound up in the economy and national security.
Looking at the institute’s efforts in Arabian countries, Lung said Taiwan needs to review its international deployment and think of a positive approach to relations with Southeast Asia and China.
The Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs should work together more closely, Lung added.
Lung also met Francois Brottes, chairman of a pro-Taiwan group in the French National Assembly, during her visit.
Brottes lauded President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) for setting up the Ministry of Culture and said Lung’s visit has made France “feel even more your country’s attachment to the importance of culture.”
Lung said Taiwan had developed into a bona fide society of openness and democracy, albeit with some imperfections.
She said that while Taiwanese have been isolated in the international community, the nation is nonetheless very important.
Over the past six decades Taiwan has proved that traditional Chinese culture and the basic values of the modernized West can be compatible, Lung said,
She described Taiwan as a laboratory of democracy that can serve as a reference for China and its communist rulers, who are seeking a new direction for the country.
Lung, who hosted the Taiwan-France Cultural Award ceremony earlier this week, said that there could be a new approach to the award, which was established by two nations in 1996.
For example, she said, the award ceremony could be combined with a Taiwanese culture week involving artists and writers.