On the afternoon of March 27, President Tsai Ing-wen met with Speaker Markéta Pekarová Adamová of the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic. In remarks, President Tsai said that Speaker Adamová is facing great pressure by leading this delegation visit, which is another strong show of support for Taiwan and a major milestone in the progress of Taiwan-Czech relations.
President Tsai expressed confidence that, in the future, Taiwan will be able to engage with the Czech Republic and other countries that share democratic ideals in more extensive cooperation across the fields of economics and trade, science and technology, culture, and regional security, and thereby strengthen the unity of the democratic alliance and contribute even more to advancing regional peace and stability.
A translation of President Tsai's remarks follows:
Let me begin by offering a warm welcome to the Czech delegation led by Chamber of Deputies Speaker Adamová. With 160 members including members of parliament from multiple parties, government officials from various ministries and agencies, and representatives from industry, academia, and research organizations, this is the largest Czech visiting delegation since Taiwan and the Czech Republic established reciprocal representative offices.
In August of 2020, Czech Republic Senate President Miloš Vystrčil led a delegation to Taiwan in spite of incessant pressure from China, opening up more bilateral cooperation across multiple areas. Speaker Adamová is also facing great pressure by leading this delegation visit, which is another strong show of support for Taiwan and a major milestone in the progress of Taiwan-Czech relations.
Following the Czech presidential election in January this year, I spoke with then president-elect, former general Petr Pavel. We both believe that going forward, Taiwan and the Czech Republic can further strengthen our exchange and cooperation across a variety of areas based on our good relations.
Over the past few years, exchange between Taiwan and the Czech Republic has made progress on many fronts. In 2021, our National Development Council Minister Kung Ming-hsin (龔明鑫) led a delegation to the Czech Republic, and we signed memoranda of understanding on green energy and smart machinery. During a visit last year, Senator Jiří Drahoš, chair of the Senate Committee on Education, Science, Culture, Human Rights, and Petitions, initiated more cooperative programs with Taiwan in semiconductors, education, and museum exchanges.
We established the Central and Eastern European Investment Fund, and many enterprises in Taiwan and Central and Eastern Europe have expressed their enthusiasm and willingness to invest. And in the Czech Republic, there are several projects under review. I am sure that this will spur more cooperation in financing and technology between Taiwan and European companies in the future.
Taiwan and the Czech Republic, having both experienced authoritarian rule, know that democracy does not come easy. Because of our experiences, we now stand together as steadfast partners committed to democracy and freedom.
I believe that in the future, Taiwan will be able to engage with the Czech Republic and other countries that share democratic ideals in more extensive cooperation across the fields of economics and trade, science and technology, culture, and regional security, and thereby strengthen our democratic alliance and contribute even more to advancing regional peace and stability.
We know that Speaker Adamová put a lot of time and energy into setting up a dedicated website for this visit to Taiwan, and we are very touched by your warm friendship. I wish you all a smooth and productive trip.
Speaker Adamová then delivered remarks, first thanking President Tsai and her administration for the warm welcome and hospitality that they have shown to her delegation. She said that their full itinerary is very compact, noting that yesterday, Legislative Yuan President Yu Shyi-kun (游錫堃) had spent the entire day with her in Yilan County, and that the delegation also visited the National Palace Museum. Speaker Adamová said that the delegation includes more than 100 business representatives, who took part in a wide variety of activities and met for discussions with Taiwanese companies. This morning, she added, she took part in the opening ceremony for the Czech Hub in Taiwan; and later this week she will meet with various government officials, deliver an address at the Legislative Yuan, visit the 2023 Smart City Summit & Expo, and speak at National Taiwan University.
Speaker Adamová stated that the purposes of this visit are to show support for Taiwan's democratic government, to expand and deepen the benefits of their bilateral partnership – not only for our two countries but for other partners as well, and to demonstrate our resolve to engage in cooperation. She added that Taiwan and the Czech Republic have always maintained close cooperation, and that the Czech Economic and Cultural Office Taipei will celebrate its 30th anniversary this coming November. Czech policy on Taiwan has always focused on long-term goals, the speaker said, and has remained stable, the two sides sharing a commitment to the universal values and principles, primary among these being freedom, democracy, and respect for human rights. She explained that it is this shared commitment that ensures our resistance to external pressures.
Speaker Adamová noted that the Policy Statement of the Government of the Czech Republic lists Taiwan as one of the Czech Republic's top-priority democratic partners for cooperation in Asia, and that the Czech Republic's new Indo-Pacific strategy emphasizes this point. She said she firmly believes that peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait are prerequisite for global security and prosperity, and that they are in line with the interests of the democratic international community, of which the Czech Republic is proud to be a member.
Speaker Adamová expressed support for Taiwan's participation in certain international organizations such as the World Health Organization and the International Civil Aviation Organization, as well as its right to share its professional knowledge and learn from other nations, adding that the Chamber of Deputies Committee on Foreign Affairs has already passed a resolution supporting Taiwan's inclusion. Over the past year or more, the speaker said, Taiwan and the Czech Republic have been in very close contact due to the fact that both countries support Ukraine in its resistance against Russian aggression. The speaker thanked Taiwan for providing the Czech Republic with the financial support to help it manage the influx of refugees from Ukraine.
Speaker Adamová mentioned that, in addition to members of parliament, government officials, and business representatives, her delegation includes scholars and experts from a range of fields in which the two countries are cooperating, such as semiconductors, communications technology, artificial intelligence, network security, counter-disinformation, smart cities, smart medicine, and cultural exchange. Noting that China Airlines will begin offering semi-weekly flights between Taipei and Prague, the speaker expressed confidence in the new service's benefit to our business ties and expected it to be a popular route.
In closing, Speaker Adamová again thanked President Tsai, the Taiwan government, and the Legislative Yuan for their warm welcome, and expressed hope for close exchange and cooperation between Taiwan and the Czech Republic moving forward.
The visiting delegation also included Czech Chamber of Deputies Chairperson of the Committee on Foreign Affairs Marek Ženíšek, Chairperson of the Committee on Security Pavel Žáček, Chairman of the Czech Republic-Taiwan Parliamentary Platform Marek Benda, members of the Chamber of Deputies Marek Výborný, Ondřej Lochman, and Ivan Jáč. The delegation was accompanied to the Presidential Office by Representative of the Czech Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei David Steinke.