President Ma Ying-jeou on the morning of February 15 met with former Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša. The president, on behalf of the government and people of the ROC, extended a warm welcome and expressed appreciation to the former prime minister for making the long journey to Taiwan.
President Ma commented that this marks the second visit to Taiwan by former Prime Minister Janša. He first visited Taiwan in his capacity as a parliamentarian in March 1997 and upon his return to Slovenia he provided assistance in establishing the Slovenia-Taiwan Friendship Association. He has also long promoted relations between the two countries, the president said. Even after becoming prime minister in 2004, he continued to maintain his friendly stance towards Taiwan, for which President Ma expressed his deepest appreciation.
President Ma remarked that while Slovenia and Taiwan are separated by an enormous geographical distance, the two share the pursuit of freedom, democracy, peace, and human rights. The two nations have enjoyed increasingly close academic and cultural exchanges in recent years. For instance, last year Ljubljana University established the first Taiwan studies center in the Balkans. In addition, Slovenia also provides visa-free courtesies to the ROC nationals, which is beneficial to advancing exchanges between the two sides, he explained.
The president specially expressed his gratitude to Slovenia for its role in supporting the ROC's participation in World Health Organization-related activities. He voiced his hopes that the two countries will continue to strengthen their relationship in the future, and that Slovenia will continue to support Taiwan in its efforts to take part in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the International Civil Aviation Organization.
Former Prime Minister Janša was accompanied to the Presidential Office in the morning by Vice Foreign Minister Lyushun Shen to meet President Ma. Also attending the meeting was National Security Council Deputy Secretary-General Chih-kung Liu.