Markéta Pekarová Adamová, the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic, gave an interview for the Czech-Taiwanese Business Chamber's TaiwanCZ Business March Special. The interview was held on the occasion of preparing for her visit to the Republic of Korea and Taiwan in March 2023.
The Speaker of the Taiwanese Parliament, You Si-kun, invited you to come to Taiwan during his visit to the Czech Republic last summer. This followed on from the delegation of Miloš Vystrčil in 2020. What was your first reaction?
I had made my decision to go to Taiwan long before You Si-Kun’s visit, so my reaction was positive and very quick.
What was your perception of Miloš Vystrčil’s visit three years ago? What do you think it brought about?
I saw the delegation Miloš Vystrčil led as a historic milestone. It was all the more important because the then-governing coalition certainly did not base its foreign policy on the values of human rights and democracy. The Senate President's trip sent a clear signal of our support both to Taiwan and all democratic countries. It made it clear that if you have the courage, you can develop relations with democratic partners in Taiwan, and the Communist dictatorship in China cannot do much about it.
Why do you think the Czech Republic should strengthen relations with Taiwan?
There are a whole host of reasons. There is huge potential in the economic sphere, not only in the field of semiconductors, where Taiwan is a superpower and cooperation with it can be extremely useful for the Czech Republic, but also in the field of electromobility or smart cities, and the list could go on. However, the Czech Republic has good economic ties with a number of partners. What makes Taiwan singular is its problematic situation in relation to China. Strengthening relations with Taipei is of great importance, as it reduces its isolation and sends a signal to those, who would like to change the situation: 'Look, Taiwan has many friends around the world, respect the status quo and do not try to change it by force!' Of course, the Czech Republic alone is not enough to do this. That is why the trip also has the goal of convincing other countries that relations with Taiwan, mainly in the field of the economy, are beneficial and desirable.
(Photo Source: Markéta Pekarová Adamová)
Having accepted the invitation to visit Taiwan, what will be the main objectives of your trip?
There are many goals. In addition to the general ones that I have already outlined, there are a considerable number of smaller or larger projects that we will complete or significantly push forward during the visit. This is common with visits by officials and we are now coordinating hard on how and which projects to support. These include cooperation in the field of research and development of chips, cooperation in the field of cyber security, presentations of Czech companies, and also, for example, the loan of unique collections from Taiwanese museums.
Who is taking part in the delegation this year?
In addition to the political part of the delegation, we are accompanied by a large trade delegation. The Czech-Taiwanese Business Chamber (CTBC) and the Confederation of Industry of the Czech Republic are in charge of its organization. The interest among companies was at a record high. In addition to companies, I am accompanied to Taiwan by representatives of municipalities and regions, representatives of universities, representatives of individual ministries, and the Senate office. We also have a press corps with us.
What do you think the trip can deliver for Czech businesses and our companies and entrepreneurs?
At the renowned Smart City Summit & Expo trade fair, where important innovators exhibit every year - last year alone there were over 250 exhibitors and more than 80,000 visitors - the Czech pavilion, where Czech companies in this sector will be presented, will be opened during the delegation. When it comes to smart cities, Taiwan is among the world leaders. This is an extraordinary opportunity for Czech companies to establish cooperation in this area. During the visit there are plans to open a Czech Hub, which will ensure a soft landing in the future, i.e. to facilitate the entry of Czech companies into the Taiwanese market. At the same time, the delegation includes many companies that are already actively trading with Taiwan and are going to deepen their current cooperation. After the period of COVID, this personal contact is particularly important for consolidating good business relations.
(Photo Source: Markéta Pekarová Adamová)
How do you see the role of China for this delegation? Three years ago, its opposition to the delegation played a big role in the negotiations and in the media. Now there is talk about the threat of a war over Taiwan between China and the US. How has this changed the situation for Czech state representatives?
The Chinese Communists have so far raised no objections to me with regard to the visit. All things considered, it would do them no good, and I don't even understand the logic of such a potential protest. The development of relations with Taiwan is not directed against China and is within our Czech definition of the 'one China policy'. There has long been talk that China might try to change the status quo in its relations with Taiwan by force. It is certainly not an immediate threat, but it cannot be ruled out in the medium term. That is precisely why Taiwan must be supported.
How do your colleagues in the Chamber of Deputies feel about the visit? What has been the general response?
The response is very good. I have not seen a single expression of disapproval. On the contrary, there is great interest among Members to accompany me on the visit. They all understand the importance of the visit and of the relationship with Taiwan. It is also great that not only the Senate and the House are united, but also the newly elected President. There is also support on the part of the Government and the coalition as a whole, and mutual relations are being intensively developed at the level of individual ministries and government agencies.
What are you most looking forward to?
I sincerely look forward to everything going well and the whole challenging journey meeting its goals. If the participants are happy, I will be happy too. On a personal note, I am looking forward to tasting the local cuisine.