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European Values Center opens in Taiwan to monitor Chinese interference

Czech think tank's Taipei office will focus on Chinese influence operations

Ke Liang-ruey (left), Jakub Janda. (EVC photo)

Ke Liang-ruey (left), Jakub Janda. (EVC photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Czech think tank European Values Center (EVC) for Security Policy is planning to open a branch in Taiwan this year.

On Tuesday (April 20), Taiwan's Representative to the Czech Republic Ke Liang-ruey (柯良叡) and EVC Director Jakub Janda signed a partnership agreement expressing support for the planned office. It slated to open in the second half of this year and will be the first in Taipei to be run by a private European think tank, according to a press release from the organization.

The Taipei branch will be set up as part of the EVC's Red Watch Program. According to the center, Red Watch is its flagship program designed to monitor "Chinese influence operations."

The Prague-based center was established in 2005 and claims to be one of the largest NGOs concentrating on foreign interference in Europe. Since 2015, its reporting, analysis, and advocacy work have been focused on disinformation and "malign foreign influence in the West."

The center's Kremlin Watch covers Russian influence operations in Europe and has been cited by the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee and numerous European national security bodies. In recent years, its Red Watch program has been monitoring Chinese activities in central and eastern Europe, such as penetration into and influence of local politics and media.

Jakub was cited by the EVC as saying, "Taiwanese institutions have much to say about Chinese interference activities and how to deal with them." He asserted that Europeans could learn from how Taiwan’s institutions have studied and resisted Beijing's communist regime for decades.

He expressed hope that the organization can "bring more of Taiwan’s priceless knowledge to Europe and to show our European counterparts that it is perfectly normal to cooperate with our friendly fellow democracy in Taiwan." Jakub stated that the EVC's goal is to foster cooperation between Taiwanese and European organizations on issues relating to security and defense.

The office will be set up and headed by Richard Kraemer, who serves as the organization's senior analyst for the Western Balkans and is president of the US-Europe Alliance and a fellow of the Eurasia Program at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. Kraemer stated that he is looking forward to playing a role in building a bridge between civil society and the governments of Taiwan, Europe, and the U.S. in the future.

Kramer remarked that since Taiwan first held democratic elections in the 1990s, it has overcome many major challenges and become the "strongest democracy in the region." He said Taiwan's success in creating a thriving democracy is a "tremendous tribute to the values and fortitude of its people, who persevere despite the existential threat from Beijing."