The Taiwan-Slovakia Exchange Association was established on Monday at the initiative of Soochow University and the Slovak Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei to promote bilateral relations.
The group is being founded to “bring Taiwan and Slovakia closer through civil society,” Soochow University president Pan Wei-ta (潘維大) said at a founding ceremony at the university.
Slovak Economic and Cultural Office Representative Martin Podstavek thanked his Taiwanese partners for their efforts in raising Slovakia-Taiwan relations to a new level.
Slovakia and Taiwan have close cultural interactions, including in the area of children’s literature, Podstavek said.
Eight Slovak children’s books have been published in Taiwan over the past two years and nine Taiwanese books in Slovakia, he said.
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Harry Tseng (曾厚仁) described Slovakia as a “very friendly country,” citing its listing of Taiwan as a safe nation during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tseng cited Taiwanese business investments in Slovakia, scholarships provided by Taiwan to Slovak students and a number of agreements signed between the two sides as proof of close relations.
“Three major Taiwanese companies — Foxconn, Delta Electronics and AU Optronics — have made significant investments in Slovakia, taking advantage of its strategic location in central Europe,” Tseng said. “We have also signed several agreements in the past years, including for double taxation avoidance in 2011, mutual recognition of driver’s licenses in 2012 and a memorandum on a youth working holiday program in 2014.”
Members of the association are mostly from the business, academic and cultural sectors, said Chang Chia-ming (張家銘), director of the Central and Eastern European Center at Soochow University, who was elected the first chairman of the association.
The association’s first project is a Slovak-Czech literature exhibition tour in Taiwan, which began on Monday and runs into the first half of next year, Chang said, adding that it also plans to organize an exhibit of Taiwanese literary works in Slovakia after the pandemic subsides.
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