TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The fact that a plane carrying a 43-member delegation from Slovakia displayed the nation's name and national emblem is being interpreted by a scholar as a political message that the central European country is establishing closer ties with Taiwan.
At 5:30 p.m. on Sunday evening (Dec. 5), a charter plane carrying the second state secretary of the Ministry of Economy of the Slovak Republic, Karol Galek, and his delegation, landed at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport. This marks the highest-level visit by officials from the country since its representative office, the Slovak Economic and Cultural Office Taipei, was established in 2003, announced the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA).
Chen Shi-min (陳世民), associate professor of political science at National Taiwan University, was cited by CNA as saying that if all civilian aircraft in Slovakia displayed the country's name and national emblem, using the plane would not have political connotations. However, Chen pointed out that Galek had taken a Slovak Government Flying Service plane exclusively used by senior officials.
Slovak government plane lands at Taoyuan International Airport. (CNA photo)
Chen asserted that although Taiwan does not have diplomatic relations with Slovakia, the official government plane is an "indirect message" that Taiwan and Slovakia have "quasi-official relations." He noted that the choice of aircraft was similar to the second visit by a U.S. congressional delegation last month that arrived on a C-40 with the words "United States of America" and a U.S. flag emblazoned on the fuselage, which also had political implications.
The delegation arrived on Sunday and is scheduled to stay until Friday (Dec. 10). The delegation includes 18 high-level officials and 25 business representatives.
Closeup view of plane. (CNA photo)