Taipei, April 1 (CNA) France's top envoy to Taiwan expressed gratitude Wednesday for Taiwan's decision to donate surgical face masks to his country to assist in its battle against the COVID-19 coronavirus, adding that Paris hopes to learn from Taipei's control measures to better contain the pandemic.
Jean-Francois Casabonne-Masonnave, head of the French Office in Taipei, said his country is deeply appreciative toward Taiwan's announcement earlier in the day that it will donate 10 million surgical masks to a number of countries, France included, which comes at a critical moment as coronavirus cases continue to rise sharply around the globe.
France is extremely grateful for the timely gesture made by Taiwan and will work with other European recipients of the donations on how to make best use of them, he said during a press event.
Casabonne-Masonnave, who assumed the post of de facto French ambassador to Taiwan in October 2019, said the two sides have always maintained close exchanges in the fields of science and medical research and that French experts have high praise for Taiwan's achievements in these areas.
He disclosed that high-level French government authorities have several times asked his office to compile a report to explain how Taiwan has so far managed to contain the pandemic.
His office is drafting a detailed briefing on the matter, he noted, adding that the report will explain how Taiwan initiated an early emergency response mechanism against the coronavirus and its measures in taking care of infected patients.
The envoy said Taiwan has an edge in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, thanks to its experience in combating Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003.
European countries, including France, do not have similar epidemic control experience, which is the main reason the continent is one of the hardest-hit areas in the world, according to the envoy.
He said he has talked with a number of French citizens leaving Taiwan, all of whom have expressed confidence in Taiwan's pandemic control measures.
He said that by talking with these French nationals, some 3,000 of whom currently live in Taiwan, he believes it is relatively safe staying on the island compared with some other parts of the world amid the pandemic.
The envoy's comments came after President Tsai Ing-wen announced earlier in the day the donation of 10 million face masks to countries seriously affected by the pandemic.
Two million of them will be sent to the U.S. and 1 million to Taiwan's 15 diplomatic allies, while the remaining 7 million will be donated to Italy, Spain, Germany, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Czech Republic, Poland, the United Kingdom and Switzerland, according to the foreign ministry.
Following the announcement, the Netherlands, Czech Republic, the U.K., Poland, Belgium and the European Union's representative offices in Taiwan all expressed gratitude for the donations.
Meanwhile, Brent Christensen, director of the American Institute in Taiwan, visited Taiwan's Central Epidemic Command Center to thank the organization for its work in containing the pandemic and also expressed appreciation for the mask donation.