Prominent Czech Senator Jiri Drahos told CNA in a recent interview that he will sign a cooperation agreement with Taiwan's chemical engineering sector later this month, via videoconferencing.
Drahos did not say in what capacity he will sign the agreement, but he is currently chairman of the Czech Senate Committee on Education, Science, Culture, Human Rights and Petitions, as well as President of the Czech Society of Chemical Engineering (CSCHE). In a written interview at the end of September, Drahoš said the cooperation agreement will be signed by him and the leadership of Taiwan Institute of Chemical Engineers (TwIChE) on Oct. 23, when TwIChE starts its annual conference.
He will also deliver an online speech from his office in Prague to introduce chemical engineering education and research in the Czech Republic to those at the gathering. Drahoš was originally scheduled to visit Taiwan on Oct. 21 with a delegation of scientists and cybersecurity experts for the TwIChE annual conference and the "Taiwan-Czech Technology Days."
However, the trip was postponed partly due to the worsening COVID-19 situation in Czechia and the strict COVID-19 control measures in Taiwan.
According to Drahos, his visit is rescheduled for March or April next year. The delegation members will include the former chief advisor to Minister of Health Rastislav Madar, Vice-rector of Charles University Jan Konvalinka, and President of the Czech Academy of Sciences Eva Zazimalova, he said.
Drahos said he will continue to enhance Czechia-Taiwan cooperation, initiated during the visit of Czech Senate President Milos Vystrcil´s delegation in August.
"Regarding the visit itself, I would like to follow the cooperation Mr. Vystrcil started in Taiwan, focusing on scientific collaboration, mainly in the field of cybersecurity and epidemiology," he said, urging European countries to develop substantial relations with Taiwan more actively. Meanwhile, Drahos also expressed concerns over Beijing's "influence campaign" in the Czech Republic, seeking to affect a more positive view of China.
One of the methods used to achieve this objective is to invite public figures and scientists to "propaganda visits" in China, he said. It is important to educate the public and raise awareness among government officials on the potential disadvantages of such a campaign, he further said, adding that his delegation can exchange experience regarding this in Taiwan.
Drahos, a former president at the Czech Academy of Sciences (CAS), has had scientific contacts with Taiwan since the 1980s. He visited Taiwan twice in the 1990s, touring several universities and science parks.