Visiting Czech senator calls for direct Taipei-Prague flights
Taipei, Sept. 22 (CNA) Czech Republic Senator Jiří Drahoš, who is on a six-day visit to Taiwan, on Thursday called for the launch of direct flights between the Czech capital Prague and Taipei, saying it would greatly enhance mutual business cooperation.
Direct flights between Prague and Taipei would have a positive effect on both Taiwan and the Czech Republic, said Drahoš, who is currently chairman of the Czech Senate Committee on Education, Science, Culture, Human Rights and Petitions, during a meeting with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文).
They could also facilitate mutual business cooperation and lead to an increase in the number of Taiwanese tourists in the Czech Republic, added Drahoš, who arrived in Taiwan on Sunday with an official delegation.
The delegation also includes Radka Wildová, deputy minister for education, youth and sports, as well as Jana Havlíková, deputy minister for science, research and innovation.
Drahoš told Tsai that Taiwan and the Czech Republic should further strengthen bilateral cooperation in the development of the semiconductor industry as well as the promotion of cultural exchanges.
"Taiwan is one of our key democratic partners in the Pacific area," the 73-year-old senator said, adding that the two nations both cherish such values as democracy and human rights.
Drahoš went on to say that the two have been drawn closer by their respective experience in facing what he called a "non-democratic, hostile neighbor," referring to Russia and China.
Drahoš thanked Taiwan's government for condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the island's people for providing financial support and relief to those affected by the ongoing war.
According to Drahoš, the Czech Republic, a former member of the Eastern Bloc and a neighbor of Ukraine, has taken in around 400,000 Ukrainian refugees, many of whom are women, children and seniors.
Drahoš also expressed support for Taiwan's effort to take part in international organizations such as the World Health Organization and the International Civil Aviation Organization.
Meanwhile, Tsai thanked Drahoš and other visiting delegates for their support of Taiwan.
She said the delegation's visit to Taiwan, which came about a month after China conducted military drills in multiple areas around the island in the wake of a trip to Taipei by United States House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, showed "the unwavering friendship" between "like-minded countries."
In the face of authoritarian expansion, Tsai said, Taiwan and the Czech Republic should "continue to look out for each other and safeguard freedom and democracy together."
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