Czech delegation visits Taiwan despite Chinese criticism
TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — The president of the Czech Republic's senate on Monday told an economic forum in Taiwan that freedom and democracy are the basis of prosperity, while the two sides signed agreements on high-tech manufacturing and environmental management despite strong criticism from China over the visit.
Milos Vystrcil is leading a delegation of 89 leaders from the Central European country’s political, business, artistic and academic circles on a trip aimed at boosting contacts.
Taiwan relies on such exchanges to counter China’s efforts to isolate the self-governing island that Beijing claims as its own territory to be annexed by military force if it deems necessary. Like all but 15 countries, the Czech Republic has no formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan, but maintains robust informal contacts.
China last week denounced Vystrcil’s visit as undermining the political foundation of relations between Prague and Beijing but has not so far indicated how it will retaliate.
Vystrcil spoke at an economic forum where the sides signed agreements on high-tech manufacturing and environmental management.
“I believe that without the possibility of free cooperation between entrepreneurs and employers, there will be no freedoms and democracy in the Czech Republic or Taiwan, because freedom and democracy are the basis of prosperity,” Vystrcil told participants.
Taiwan Economics Minister Wang Mei-hua said the delegation’s visit was bringing real economic benefits to the two sides.
In addition, Wang said the visit stood as “proof to the world that no matter how big the pressure is, how difficult the situation is, nothing can stop Taiwan and the Czech Republic’s determination to defend freedom, democracy and protect human rights."
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