Visiting Czech senate president, US officials talk up Taiwan in post-COVID era

With countries seeking alternative partners to China, AIT director says Taiwan will play important role

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TAITRA Chairman James Huang, EU Representative Filip Grzegorzewski, Milos Vystrcil, Brent Christensen, Joseph Wu, and Hi...

TAITRA Chairman James Huang, EU Representative Filip Grzegorzewski, Milos Vystrcil, Brent Christensen, Joseph Wu, and Hi... (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The visiting Czech delegation, led by Senate President Milos Vystrcil, gathered with Taiwan government officials and Taipei-based foreign envoys on Friday (Sep. 4), to call for a reshaping of the global supply chain, which has shaken by the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the risks of relying too much on a single country or supplier for critical materials like medical supplies and pharmaceuticals and for inputs to strategically important industries,” remarked Brent Christensen, director of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT). With more countries seeking alternative manufacturing partners to China, he said Taiwan will play an important role in the global supply chain in the post-COVID era.

“Over the past eight months, AIT has engaged with counterparts across the Taiwan government, industries, and academia to explore how we can work together on supply chain restructuring,” said Christensen. “The United States wants to strengthen our bilateral economic ties across a range of priority issues, and reorienting technology and medical product supply chains is at the top of the list,” added Christensen, referring to the newly announced Economic and Commercial Dialogue with Taiwan.

The event, co-hosted by AIT, the EU and Japan’s representative offices, was joined by Vystrcil on Friday afternoon. Wrapping up his high-profile trip to Taiwan, Vystrcil warned of the potential impact of working with non-democratic suppliers.

“The biggest weakness of democracy is the fact that it’s a democracy. The biggest weakness of an open economy is the fact that it’s open," said the senate president. He urged countries to behave in a responsible way and cooperate to build a sustainable global economy.

“I see tremendous potential for closer cooperation between Taiwan and like-minded democracies from Europe, Asia and North America,” stated Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), who, along with the AIT director, has recently pledged to extend bilateral cooperation to the field of 5G security. “We will work with like-minded partners to establish reciprocal industrial ties, ones that lead to joint prosperity instead of coercion, exploitation and expansionism,” he added.

Hiroyasu Izumi, representative of the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association, called for cooperation in the international community in order to build up resilient supply chains that could better respond to the current and future crises. “Ensuring a robust supply chain is an urgent issue from the perspective of national security," said Izumi, adding: “It is therefore essential to cooperate with our like-minded partners.”