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Minister seeks stronger role for culture in France visit

PARIS--Taiwan's Culture Minister Lung Ying-tai said Tuesday in Paris that she was impressed by the Institut Francais after visiting the agency under the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Lung and Xavier Darcos, president of the institute, reached a consensus on cooperation during her visit on film exchanges and arts villages.

Lung said cooperation with France will have a butterfly effect, and said that France's strong influence with Arabian countries means that the country can provide a gateway to other countries.

She also learned 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 toward Southeast Asia and China.

Taiwan's ministries of culture and foreign affairs should work together more closely, Lung added.

Earlier in her visit to France that began Feb. 17, Lung called on Francois Brottes, chairman of a pro-Taiwan group in the French National Assembly.

Brottes noted that President Ma Ying-jeou set up the Ministry of Culture and said that Lung's visit has made France “feel even more your country's attachment to the importance of culture.”

According to Lung, Taiwan has developed into a bona fide society of openness and democracy, albeit with some imperfections.

She said that while the people of Taiwan have been isolated in the international community, the island is nonetheless very important.

Over the past six decades, Lung said, Taiwan has proved that traditional Chinese culture and the basic values of the modernized West can be compatible.

She described Taiwan as a laboratory of democracy that can provide references for China and its Communist authoritarian rulers, who are seeking a new direction for the country.

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