TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Thursday morning (Oct. 7) awarded the chairman of the French Senate’s Taiwan Friendship Group, Alain Richard, the Order of Propitious Clouds in recognition of his support for Taiwan and his contribution to promoting friendly relations between Taiwan and France.
Tsai said that the last time she met Richard was in 2018, a little more than two months after the Hualien earthquake. She said that Richard left a deep impression on her when he mentioned he planned to visit the eastern Taiwanese city to understand and observe the post-quake recovery, CNA reported.
Tsai said that in the past few years, Richard has continued to care about Taiwan and defy political pressure from China. With strict epidemic prevention measures in place making logistics and visits difficult, it is even more touching that he led a delegation to visit Taiwan for the third time, she added.
The president said that over the years, Richard has been a "pioneer of Taiwan-French relations" and has “continuously opened up new frontiers in bilateral exchanges,” per CNA.
Tsai said that the French Senate formally invited Taiwanese legislators to visit France in May 2019. Additionally, the French Senate passed a resolution in May to support Taiwan’s participation in international organizations, marking the first time it has ever done so, she explained, adding that both are milestones in the advancement of Taiwan-France relations.
President Tsai pointed out that the award is in part a token of her “deepest gratitude” for Richard’s support for Taiwan. "Your arrival in Taiwan is akin to having family members from France come to visit. We welcome you," she said.
The Order of Propitious Clouds is a civilian award that can be given to foreigners and Taiwan nationals alike.