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President Tsai confers decoration on late Czech Senate President Jaroslav Kubera, meets incumbent Senate President Miloš Vystrčil
President Tsai confers decoration on late Czech Senate President Jaroslav Kubera, meets incumbent Senate President Miloš Vystrčil
2020-09-03

Czech Republic Senate President Miloš Vystrčil led a delegation to Taiwan this week. On the morning of September 3, President Tsai Ing-wen, accompanied by Vice President Lai Ching-te, conferred the Order of Propitious Clouds with Special Grand Cordon posthumously on late Czech Senate President Jaroslav Kubera at the Presidential Office. This is more than just an expression of our great respect for former Senate President Kubera, she said, and also highlights that everyone in this delegation supports continuing friendly Taiwan-Czech relations, and upholds the spirit of democratic values that our countries share.

On behalf of late Senate President Kubera, Senate President Vystrčil accepted the Order of Propitious Clouds with Special Grand Cordon from President Tsai. Former Senate President Kubera's wife, Ms. Věra Kuberová, who was unable to come to Taiwan, thanked President Tsai via video for conferring the decoration posthumously on her husband, and also expressed her support for Taiwan's path to sovereignty independence, democracy, and freedom.

A translation of President Tsai's remarks follows:

I am delighted to welcome Czech Senate President Vystrčil, Mrs. Vystrčil, and all the delegation members to Taiwan and the Office of the President. I just watched the video showing the address by Ms. Kuberová, the widow of former Senate President Kubera. I want to thank her for supporting Taiwan and sincerely invite her to visit Taiwan.

Former Senate President Kubera was a good friend of Taiwan who made considerable efforts to upgrade Taiwan-Czech relations. We were deeply saddened at the news of his passing. Former President Václav Havel also placed great importance on Taiwan-Czech friendship, and received a decoration here at the Presidential Office when he visited Taiwan 16 years ago. The posthumous decoration that we conferred upon Former Senate President Kubera at today's ceremony is more than just an expression of our great respect for him. It also highlights that everyone in this delegation supports continuing friendly Taiwan-Czech relations, and upholds the spirit of democratic values that our countries share.

Like the Czech Republic, Taiwan has travelled a difficult road, opposing authoritarianism and fighting for democracy and freedom. We are proud of our democratic experience, determined to defend democracy, and devoted to safeguarding regional peace, stability, and development. This year, Taiwanese society has once again overcome the challenges of a pandemic through democracy and solidarity. Through our success in fighting COVID-19 and by sharing our democratic values, Taiwan has also won support from more international friends.

A few days ago, Mr. Vystrčil expressed regret that no Czech Senate President had visited Taiwan earlier. But I can assure you that the people of Taiwan do not feel your visit has come too late. Historical experience tells us that truth and justice may come late, but they will certainly come. So long as we remain faithful to our values, the world will inevitably recognize Taiwan's efforts to promote freedom and democracy. On behalf of the people of Taiwan, I want to thank Senate President Vystrčil and all the delegation members for your staunch support. I am confident that by working together for our common cause, Taiwan and the Czech Republic will make even greater contributions to the world.

During the past few days of exchanges, we have seen many achievements. Taiwan's industrial sector and Czech vendors have signed three MOUs for cooperation. Two of Taiwan's state-run banks will begin evaluating possible business locations in the Czech Republic. China Airlines will also investigate and discuss direct flights between our two countries. These actions will all bring Taiwan and the Czech Republic closer together.

In the future, there is much room for bilateral cooperation in industrial fields of strategic importance to both of our countries. Examples include water resource management, renewable energy, network security, healthcare technology, and national defense. We look forward to further progress in these areas.

The day before yesterday, we were all deeply moved when Senate President Vystrčil said: "I am Taiwanese (in Mandarin)." Through our exchanges during this visit, we have not only deepened bilateral ties, but also sent a message to the international community about our shared belief in democracy and freedom.

Our actions tell all of our friends in Europe and like-minded friends throughout the world that the people of both Taiwan and the Czech Republic will not bow to pressure. We will speak out boldly, actively participate in international affairs, and contribute our expertise.

In recent years, cultural exchanges between Taiwan and the Czech Republic have steadily increased. Today, I am planning to present Senate President Vystrčil with a Czech translation of Memories of Mount Qilai, a work by the Taiwanese poet Yang Mu (楊牧). I have also prepared a complete set of the works of Czech author Bohumil Hrabal that have been translated into Mandarin. Mr. Hrabal is a major figure in global literary circles, and is very popular in Taiwan. His first novel, Pearls of the Deep, was adapted into a film that brought his country worldwide attention, and ushered in a new generation of Czech filmmakers known as the Czech New Wave.

I also believe that Senate President Vystrčil and his delegation members have taken a major step that will set off a different sort of new wave, encouraging more people to transcend barriers of all kinds, engage in reciprocal visits, and provide mutual support. The people of Taiwan will continue to welcome our Czech brothers and sisters, and friends from all like-minded countries, with open arms. In the future, let's all continue working hand-in-hand for the sake of our beloved homelands, our countries, our people, and the universal values in which we believe.

Senate President Vystrčil then delivered remarks. He began by thanking President Tsai for conferring the Order of Propitious Clouds with Special Grand Cordon posthumously on late Czech Senate President Kubera. That decoration, he said, is a tribute to the late Senate President's contributions during his lifetime and an honor for the Czech Senate as the nation's most democratic and free institution. Mr. Vystrčil also conveyed sincere thanks for the warm reception and care the delegation had received during their stay in Taiwan.

Senate President Vystrčil also mentioned that former Senate President Kubera was an outstanding, distinguished, and accessible politician as well as the greatest defender of freedom and democracy. Mr. Vystrčil then said that he and all the delegation members had learned much from former Senate President Kubera, and expressed regret that health reasons prevented his widow, Ms. Kuberová, from accompanying the delegation to Taiwan.

Mr. Vystrčil mentioned that although former Senate President Kubera had passed away, his life philosophy had become a kind of commitment, and most Czech senators had expressed support for the delegation's visit to Taiwan.

Senate President Vystrčil then presented President Tsai with gifts from Ms. Kuberová, including a work with the plum blossom symbol of Taiwan, and the former Senate President's favorite cup. Mr. Vystrčil's wife, Ivana Vystrčil, presented a cross set with garnets symbolizing rebirth and a guardian angel fashioned from moldavite, and asked President Tsai to accept them on behalf of the people of Taiwan, hoping that the two gifts would protect the freedom, democracy, and sovereignty of the Taiwanese people for all time. In return, President Tsai presented a work of Paiwan tribe leather art symbolizing the nurturing of vital energy and protection of the nation's power, along with the literary works she referred to in her remarks. In closing, Senate President Vystrčil also presented President Tsai with an art piece depicting a lion, the national symbol of the Czech Republic and the Czech Senate.

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