Berlin, Sept. 15 (CNA) Czech Republic Senator Jiří Drahoš will lead a 14-member delegation on a six-day visit to Taiwan from Sept. 18 in a move he said was aimed at boosting cooperation with Taiwan’s semiconductor industry.
Drahos, 73, a former head of the Czech Academy of Sciences, who ran in the 2018 Czech presidential election as an independent candidate and was narrowly defeated by incumbent Miloš Zeman, currently serves as the chairman of the Senate’s Committee on Education, Science, Culture, Human Rights and Petitions.
The delegation will comprise Eva Zažímalová, the president of the Czech Academy of Sciences; Michal Lukeš, general director of the National Museum in Prague; Roman Hvězda, director of the ELI Beamlines Facility; and education and science and technology officials as well as experts in epidemic prevention and information security.
In an interview with CNA, Drahoš said that the Czech government, which came to power at the end of last year, paid special attention to democracy and human rights.
Drahoš stressed that he was looking forward to strengthening cooperation with Taiwan in epidemic prevention, semiconductors, museums, and other areas during the trip.
Drahoš noted that the tension between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait had caused widespread concern in political circles in Europe that Taiwan may become the second Ukraine.
He added that although European countries may not be able to supply arms to Taiwan, there was a consensus on furthering relations with Taiwan in the areas of soft power such as culture, research, and academics to improve Taiwan’s international visibility.
China should know that the democratic world stands with Taiwan and given that Chinese leaders are relatively pragmatic, they would not wage a war against Taiwan like Russian President Vladimir Putin who launched a full invasion of Ukraine in February, bringing devastating consequences to himself and others, said Drahoš.
Amid warming ties between the two countries, Taiwan’s Ministry of Culture plans to set up a cultural division in the representative office in the Czech Republic in January next year to promote exchanges between Taiwan and Central and Eastern European countries. The Czech National Museum will also explore the possibility of future cooperation with Taiwanese counterparts during the upcoming trip, according to Drahoš.
Drahoš also said the Czech Republic was looking forward to seeing Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., the world’s largest contract chipmaker, invest in the country.
For now, Drahoš said he was looking to work with Taiwan to establish a cooperation platform on semiconductor research and development.
Drahoš came to Taiwan for the first time in the 1990s when he attended an academic conference at National Taiwan University. Since then, he has regularly invited Taiwanese scholars to attend conferences in Prague to promote academic exchanges between the two countries.
The Czech senator originally planned to visit Taiwan in October 2020, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he had postponed the trip until now.
(By Lin Yu Li and Evelyn Kao)
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