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Taiwan and Slovakia boost ties in historic visit


Bratislava, Slovakia – A delegation of top Slovak officials and business representatives arrived on Sunday in Taiwan for a historic visit to boost bilateral relations.

This is the largest and highest-level visit by Slovakia since the country opened a representative office on the island, the Slovak Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei, in 2003.

“Slovakia supports Taiwan”, says minister in highest-level visit

“The fact that we are here today despite the pandemic is because we are determined and committed to working with Taiwan,” commented Lucia Kiss from Slovakia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry.

“Slovakia supports Taiwan,” said deputy-Economy Minister Karol Galek, who leads the delegation, at the first-ever session of the Taiwanese-Slovak Commission on Economic Cooperation. “Slovakia is ready to become an equal partner, and not only in good but also in the hard times of the current pandemic situation.”

The 43-member delegation is expected to stay until December 10.

In August, the two countries signed a legal assistance agreement, and Slovakia donated over 150,000 anti-Covid vaccines the following month to help the island in its fight against coronavirus.

Taiwan, a self-governed territory claimed by Beijing as part of its “One China” policy, is facing increased pressure from China’s attempts to isolate it on the world stage.

CEE nations lead pushback against “One China” policy

The visit of Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu to Slovakia and the Czech Republic last October already drew the ire of China, which warned the two Central European nations Beijing was prepared to take all the “necessary measures” to defend its sovereignty.

But this week’s historic visit appears to be the latest sign of growing international support for the fate of the east Asian island. Lithuania, which recently approved the opening of a representative office and de-facto embassy in Taipei, has virulently clashed with China in recent months.

Taiwan has also found strong supporters in neighbouring Czech Republic. In 2019, Prague mayor Zdenek Hrib cancelled a sister-city agreement with Beijing amid growing tensions, only to sign a new one a few weeks later with Taipei.

Last year, Czech senate leader Milos Vystrcil headed a 90-member delegation to Taipei. “I am Taiwanese”, he said in a speech in front of Taiwan’s parliament in a clear reference to JFK’s famous “Ich bin ein Berliner” 1963 speech. At the time, Chinese officials had called the visit “a despicable act” and warned M. Vystrcil would “pay a heavy price” for his appearance.

Headed by Kafkadesk's chief-editor Jules Eisenchteter, our Prague office gathers over half a dozen reporters, editors and contributors, as well as our social media team. It covers everything Czech and Slovak-related, and oversees operations from our other Central European desks in Krakow and Budapest.