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President Lai meets Czech Republic Senate First Vice-President Jiří Drahoš 
President Lai meets Czech Republic Senate First Vice-President Jiří Drahoš 

On the morning of June 14, President Lai Ching-te met with a delegation led by Czech Republic Senate First Vice-President Jiří Drahoš. In remarks, President Lai stated that as part of our Taiwan-Czech resilience project, Taiwan’s first overseas integrated circuit (IC) design training base will be established in Prague, and that the Czech Centre in Taipei opens today. The president expressed confidence that moving forward, cooperation between Taiwan and the Czech Republic in industry and culture is sure to deepen, creating prosperity and growth for both our nations.

A translation of President Lai’s remarks follows:

I would like to begin by welcoming First Vice-President Drahoš, who is once again leading a delegation to Taiwan. Taiwan and the Czech Republic share the values of democracy, freedom, and respect for human rights. These common values have fostered close bilateral exchanges and fruitful cooperation. I am confident that the delegation’s visit will once again spark a wave of engagement between Taiwan and the Czech Republic.

This is First Vice-President Drahoš’s fourth visit to Taiwan. He has played a pivotal role in establishing direct flights between Taipei and Prague, which began last July. In the first quarter of this year, the number of Taiwanese visitors to the Czech Republic increased by 75 percent compared to the same period last year. This has enhanced bilateral exchanges in a variety of domains.

During this visit, First Vice-President Drahoš witnessed the signing of a cooperation agreement between the National Palace Museum and the National Museum in Prague. He will also attend the opening ceremony of the Czech Centre in Taipei. We look forward to seeing cultural relics from the National Palace Museum on display in Prague next year. And the Czech Centre in Taipei, which opens today, will allow Czech culture to be seen and heard in Taiwan, promoting friendship between our peoples.

In addition, as part of our Taiwan-Czech resilience project, Taiwan’s first overseas IC design training base will be established in Prague. Moving forward, interactions between Taiwan and the Czech Republic in industry and culture are sure to become increasingly vibrant. These fruits of our exchanges were possible with the help of First Vice-President Drahoš’s strong support. I would like to express my thanks to him and all of our distinguished guests for their longstanding support of Taiwan.

Under the leadership of First Vice-President Drahoš, last month the Czech Senate passed a resolution for the fourth consecutive year supporting Taiwan’s participation in international organizations such as the World Health Organization. I am confident that, through joint cooperation, Taiwan and the Czech Republic will continue to make ever greater contributions to the international community.

Václav Havel, the first democratically elected president of the Czech Republic, once said, “Freedom is as precious as life.” (Czech: Svoboda má takovou cenu, jakou máme my sami.) In the future, I will lead Taiwan in deepening democracy, peace, and prosperity through values-based diplomacy. I look forward to working with all members of the delegation to safeguard our shared values of democracy and freedom, creating prosperity and growth for both our nations.

First Vice-President Drahoš then delivered remarks, thanking President Lai and all the Taiwanese people for their hospitality and for a warm welcome. He said this is his fourth visit to Taiwan, and each time he feels more and more at home among friends here.

First Vice-President Drahoš emphasized that we are indeed real friends who share common values – strong liberal democracy and emphasis on the protection of human rights and rights of minorities – and of course, a historical experience with non-democratic hostile neighbors. The first vice-president noted that as the first Czechoslovak president, Tomáš Masaryk, once said, “Humanity is our national and historical goal; humanity is the Czech program.” First Vice-President Drahoš added that he would say it’s also Taiwanese.

First Vice-President Drahoš then thanked President Lai for his continuous support of Ukraine, saying they highly appreciate Taiwanese financial assistance to the Czech Republic to manage the influx of refugees from Ukraine after the start of the war. The first vice-president stated that the vile and unprovoked Russian aggression has had devastating effects on the people of Ukraine, and they are really glad that Taiwan and the Czech Republic have joined efforts to help them through concrete actions.

Without any exaggeration, he went on, our joint projects have improved the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in the eastern part of Ukraine, and both our countries should be proud of this endeavor. First Vice-President Drahoš stated that as their great President Václav Havel said, “Indifference to others and indifference to the fate of the whole is precisely what opens the door to evil.” The first vice-president said he is glad that Czech-Taiwan relations are the direct antithesis of such indifference. The Czech Republic, he said, has been supporting Taiwan’s efforts to join the international arena, including its organizations and institutions, as they believe Taiwan has much to offer in solving global issues. He added that they have taken concrete steps in supporting Taiwan’s effort to become an observer in the World Health Assembly, and that just before their arrival, the Czech Senate voted by overwhelming majority a strong resolution recommending this status for Taiwan.

First Vice-President Drahoš said he believes that on our mutual relations could be applied one common proverb – a friend in need is a friend indeed. Both during the COVID-19 pandemic and during the natural disasters that hit both our countries in recent years, he said, we helped each other, be it Taiwan’s support after the tornado in South Moravia in the summer of 2021, or most recently, the Czech government’s donation to help restore damaged areas in the Hualien region after the devastating earthquake.

The first vice-president stated that they also share with Taiwan an absolute priority for developing modern technologies, and that he fully agrees with what President Lai mentioned in his inauguration speech that bold investment in semiconductors, quantum computing, robotics, artificial intelligence, and the space industry needs to be our future. Therefore, he said, the Czech Republic is ready to be part of Taiwan’s semiconductor ecosystem, especially in connection with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company’s (TSMC) investment in Central Europe. The first vice-president said that on June 12, the Czech Economic and Cultural Office, with support from the National Development Council, organized an investment seminar to show Taiwanese businesses that the Czech Republic is a reliable investment partner, especially in the chip industry.

First Vice-President Drahoš said that to manifest how important for them mutual relations with Taiwan are, they decided to step up their presence in Taiwan with the Czech Centre in Taipei, which will focus on culture and public diplomacy and officially starts its activities this afternoon.

The first vice-president said he is glad that Czech-Taiwan relations are thriving in so many areas, but at the same time are based on mutual respect, willingness to share knowledge, and perseverance in promoting democratic values. First Vice-President Drahoš thanked President Lai and the Taiwanese people once again for their wonderful hospitality and friendship, saying that among them, he really feels that he is in the right place, at the right time, and with the right people.

The delegation also included Deputy Minister for Science, Research and Innovation Jana Havlíková, Director General of the Ministry of Industry and Trade Petr Očko, General Director of the National Museum Michal Lukeš, and Director General of the National Heritage Institute Naděžda Goryczková. The delegation was accompanied to the Presidential Office by Representative of the Czech Economic and Cultural Office David Steinke.

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