Civil association founded to promote Taiwan-Slovakia exchanges

11/16/2020 09:38 PM
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Martin Podstavek, head of the Slovak Economic and Cultural Office, speaks at the founding ceremony of the Taiwan-Slovakia Exchange Association.
Martin Podstavek, head of the Slovak Economic and Cultural Office, speaks at the founding ceremony of the Taiwan-Slovakia Exchange Association.

Taipei, Nov. 16 (CNA) The Taiwan-Slovakia Exchange Association (TSEA) was established on Monday at the initiative of Taiwan's Soochow University and the Slovak Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei to promote bilateral relations between the two countries.

The group is being founded to "bring Taiwan and Slovakia closer through civil society," said Soochow University President Pan Wei-ta (潘維大) at the association's founding ceremony at the university.

Martin Podstavek, head of the Slovak Economic and Cultural Office, thanked his Taiwanese partners for their efforts to push Slovakia-Taiwan relations to a new level.

According to Podstavek, Slovakia and Taiwan have close cultural interactions, including in the area of children's literature.

Eight Slovak children books were published in Taiwan over the past two years alone, and nine Taiwanese children books have reached bookshelves in Slovakia during the same period, he said.

Deputy Foreign Minister Harry Tseng (曾厚仁) described Slovakia as a "very friendly country" to Taiwan, citing Slovakia's listing of Taiwan as a safe country during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tseng cited Taiwanese investments in Slovakia, scholarship slots provided by Taiwan to Slovakian 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 Slovakia's 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," he said.

Members of the association are mostly from the business, academic and cultural sectors, said Chang Chia-ming (張家銘), the director of the Central and Eastern European Center at Soochow University who was elected to be the first chairman of TSEA.

The first TSEA project will be Slovak-Czech literature exhibition tour in Taiwan, which began Monday and will last into the first half of 2021, Chang told CNA.

The association also plans to organize an exhibit for Taiwan's literary works in Slovakia after the COVID-19 pandemic subsides, he added.

Meanwhile, a Slovak children's literature exhibition is being held on the campus as part of celebrations for the 120th anniversary of the founding of the university.

All children books displayed in the exhibit were translated by Podstavek's wife Chen Liang (梁晨).

(By Emerson Lim and Chen Yun-yu)

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