Taiwanese president praises relations with the Czech Republic during Forum 2000 speech

Tsai Ing-wen praised Czech-Taiwanese relations in her speech at the opening of the Forum 2000 conference today

ČTK

Written by ČTK
Published on 12.10.2020 17:06 (updated on 12.10.2020)

Prague, Oct 12 (CTK) - President of Taiwan Tsai Ing-wen praised Czech-Taiwanese relations in her speech to open the annual Forum 2000 international conference today. She also said the two countries share the same values and cooperation may boost the prosperity of both.

She also appreciated the visit of Czech Senate head Miloš Vystrčil to Taiwan in early September, which, she said, showed the Taiwanese people that they will never be left abandoned.

Vystrčil, who also spoke during Forum 2000 today, said that freedom, solidarity and democracy are the basis of prosperity while populism is lethal to freedom and democracy.

Forum 2000 is held from Monday to Wednesday this week. While it usually takes place in Prague, this year it is being held online due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Forum 2000 human rights conference was founded by the late Czech president Václav Havel, Jewish writer Elie Wiesel and Japanese philanthropist Yohei Sasakawa in 1997 in order to provide space for personalities active in various disciplines to analyse the challenges of the new millennium.

"I personally consider the gradual rise in political populism one of the current biggest problems worldwide," said Vystrčil, adding that it is immoral for some politicians to promise people well-being without having to contribute to welfare, without behaving responsibly and showing solidarity.

"It is populism that, step-by-step, kills truth, responsibility, and solidarity, and subsequently also freedom and democracy," Vystrčil said.

He said populism can be seen not only on the national level but also in international decision-making, where [democratic states] make themselves unhealthily dependent on undemocratic countries for the sake of short-term economic advantages.

Freedom cannot be only possessed and enjoyed, but must be permanently gained again and again, Vystrčil said, citing the late Pope John Paul II.

Tsai Ing-wen said Taiwan and the Czech Republic are partners that share values, trust in freedom, democracy, transparency, human rights. Both have a similar experience from history, their nations each fought against an authoritarian regime.

in addition to Vystrčil's trip to Taiwan, Tsai Ing-wen mentioned the support for Taiwan on the part of Havel, the first post-communist Czechoslovak and later Czech president in 1990-2003.

Countries that share equal values must cooperate in order to preserve their way of living. Only cooperation can secure the preservation of their democracy and freedom, Tsai Ing-wen said, emphasizing that democracy and freedom are the basis of economic prosperity.

Following Vystrčil's visit, she expects a deepening cooperation between the Czech Republic and Taiwan. Opportunities for this are, for example, in the development of artistic intelligence, in the field of communications and in healthcare, she said.

She promised the launch of student exchange programs for Czechs.

Relations between the Czech Republic and Taiwan have been in the limelight in connection with Vystrčil's recent trip, which met with sharp protests of China but was also criticized by Czech PM Andrej Babiš and President Miloš Zeman.