TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Meeting with Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) on Wednesday (Jan. 15), Czech parliamentarian Marek Benda affirmed that ties between Taiwan and the central European nation would further be strengthened now that Taipei and Prague had inked a sister-cities agreement.
Accompanied by a city government delegation, Ko embarked on a European tour on Jan. 12, visiting the Czech Republic, Latvia, Estonia, and Finland. On Jan. 13, the mayor signed the sister-cities agreement with his Prague counterpart Zdenek Hrib, who has been outspoken in his criticism of Beijing’s pressure on Taiwan and human rights abuses in Hong Kong and Tibet.
Benda, who has visited Taiwan nine times and is the chair of the Taiwan Caucus in the Czech Republic’s lower house, said the relationship between Taiwan and the Czech Republic would be further strengthened in the future following the implementation of the sister-cities agreement.
Benda also congratulated Taiwan on holding the presidential election last week and living up to its democratic values. He added that the Czech people had gradually come to know about Taiwan partly because of the fray between the Prague mayor and Chinese officials.
Hrib had disagreed with the sister-cities agreement between Prague and Beijing signed by his predecessor because the wording of the deal supported the idea that Taiwan and China are part of one country. Prague’s city council later voted to terminate the agreement after the Beijing City Government refused to make changes.
Taiwan and the Czech Republic share such values as freedom and democracy, remarked Ko during his visit to the Czech parliament. He added that the two countries would benefit from mutual cooperation.