The government yesterday expressed its interest in holding an in-person meeting between President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and Czech president-elect Petr Pavel after Pavel suggested the idea during a telephone call with Tsai on Monday.
“The president-elect has expressed his willingness [to hold a personal meeting]. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs [MOFA] will do its utmost to support efforts that would deepen the partnership between Taiwan and the Czech Republic,” ministry spokesman Jeff Liu (劉永健) said.
Tsai congratulated Pavel with his election victory during their telephone conversation.
Photo: Yang Cheng-yu, Taipei Times
The call was highly unusual, as Prague does not have official diplomatic ties with Taipei. Leaders of countries that recognize Beijing normally avoid having direct contact with Taiwanese presidents to avoid provoking China.
Tsai previously spoke on the phone with then-US president-elect Donald Trump on Dec. 2, 2016, to congratulate him on his election win.
Liu said that Monday’s call is concrete proof that Taiwan has over the past few years built solid partnerships with central and eastern European countries.
Tsai told Pavel that Taiwanese and Czech have deep ties, and value freedom, democracy and human rights, Presidential Office spokeswoman Lin Yu-chan (林聿禪) said.
Based on these cordial ties, the government looks forward to deepening exchanges and cooperation with the Czech Republic in key areas, including semiconductor design, talent cultivation in cutting-edge technologies and supply chain restructuring, Lin said.
Pavel later on Twitter thanked Tsai for congratulating him during Monday’s call.
“I assured her that Taiwan and the Czech Republic share the values of freedom, democracy, and human rights. We agreed on strengthening our partnership,” Pavel wrote.
“I also expressed hope to have the opportunity to meet President Tsai in person in the future,” he added.
Pavel, a retired general and former chairman of the NATO Military Committee, was elected to the mostly ceremonial post on Saturday. The 61-year-old is to replace Czech President Milos Zeman, whose second term ends next month.
Unlike Zeman, who long pushed for closer relations with China and Russia, Pavel is considered a mainstream pro-Western candidate who backs aid for Ukraine and is supportive of closer ties with Taiwan.
Despite the lack of diplomatic ties, Taiwan and the Czech Republic have maintained cordial relations since the two sides opened representative offices in 1991 and 1993 in Prague and Taipei respectively.
The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday condemned the phone call between Pavel and Tsai, accusing Pavel of going back on his word and lacking credibility.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning (毛寧) said Beijing had made stern representations to the Czech side.
Additional reporting by Reuters
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