The Czech Republic stands with Taiwan in any circumstance, Czech Chamber of Deputies Speaker Marketa Pekarova Adamova told lawmakers during a plenary session at the legislature in Taipei yesterday.
“The stories of the Czech Republic and Taiwan are intertwined, and developing freedom and democracy is our common responsibility. Our dear colleagues in the Legislative Yuan and people of Taiwan, I want to assure you that we are with you now and will continue to be with you. In any circumstance, we are in the same boat. We are with you, as you are with us,” Adamova said, before ending her speech by saying “Thank you” in Mandarin.
Before the speech, Legislative Speaker You Si-kun (游錫?) presented Adamova with the Legislative Yuan First-Class Medal of Honor for her contributions to Taiwan.
She is the first female parliamentary speaker from a non-diplomatic ally to address the Legislative Yuan and to be recognized with the medal, You said.
In her speech, Adamova spoke of the importance of treasuring hard-earned democracy, as well as advocating and practicing democratic values, as they are now under threat from authoritarian regimes, who use “sweet nothings” as a shield for their crimes against humanity.
“People in our generation tend to take our choices for granted: having free speech as well as the freedom to hold elections, read books, travel and develop our talents. We thought we could have these choices forever, but that is not so,” she said. “All these could be gone quickly if we stop treasuring and protecting them... Many of us also naively thought that wars would never return in our lifetime. However, we have witnessed in the past year how a brutal war and clear violations of international laws have happened in Ukraine, which is less than 400km away from the Czech Republic. The distance is similar to that between Taipei and Kaohsiung.”
In his address to both houses of the Czech Republic in June last year, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said: “We are with you, be with us,” a sentence that was repeatedly sounded over the radio in Prague during the occupation of then-Czechoslovakia by Warsaw Pact troops in 1968, she said.
“It was after Zelenskiy’s speech that Czechs realized that our stories are intertwined, and we will always stand on the side of freedom, democracy and human rights,” she said.
Adamova said that she was deeply impressed by her visit to the National Center of Traditional Arts in Yilan County and would recommend it as a must-see tourist attraction to everybody.
Travel to Taiwan would be greatly facilitated through the soon-to-be launched direct flights between Taipei and Prague, she added.
You in his welcoming remarks said that Taiwan and the Czech Republic have broken the ice and made tremendous progress since 2020 following the visit of Czech Senate President Milos Vystrcil, who was the first parliamentary speaker from a non-diplomatic ally to address the legislature.
“Vystrcil’s visit was like a swallow in the spring, carrying the message of supporting a democratic Taiwan... Since then, we have seen growth in bilateral trade in two consecutive years, with growth reaching 20.25 percent last year,” You said.
“His visit also motivated other high-ranking officials from democratic countries in Europe to visit Taiwan. It raised the profile of Taiwan and opened the way for Taiwan to reach other nations in Europe,” he said.
Adamova’s visit also sends a strong message of support from a democratic ally and brought the spirit of defiance against authoritarians to Taiwan, as shown in the “Prague Spring” in 1968 and the “Velvet Revolution” in 1989, he said.
Bolstering the partnership is in Prague’s interests, he added.
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