Czech Senator Drahoš to visit Taiwan in October

Jiří Drahoš (Photo taken from facebook.com/drahosjiri)

BERLIN (CNA) — Senator Jiří Drahoš of the Czech Republic, who made a presidential bid in 2018, said Wednesday that he plans to visit Taiwan with a group of scientists in October to promote exchanges on cybersecurity and disease prevention between the two countries.

His announcement came after a similar one by the Speaker of the Czech Senate Miloš Vystrčil, who said Tuesday that he planned to visit Taiwan Aug. 30 to Sept. 5.

Drahoš is chairman of the Czech Senate Committee on Education, Science, Culture, Human Rights and Petitions and the president of the Czech Society of Chemical Engineering.

At a news conference Wednesday, he said he will depart for Taiwan Oct. 21 to attend activities in celebration of the Czech-Taiwan Technology Days in Taipei.

Taiwan is a leader in the area of cybersecurity and has been successful in its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, Drahoš said, adding that he and his delegation will engage in exchanges with Taiwanese experts in those areas.

During his visit to Taiwan, Drahoš will also attend the annual assembly of the Taiwan Institute of Chemical Engineers, and he will be named an honorary professor by National Tsing Hua University, according to Yen Hong-wei (顏宏偉), an official of Taiwan’s Ministry of Science and Technology stationed in Prague.

An expert in physical chemistry with over 60 scientific works to his name, Drahoš was head of the Czech Academy of Sciences 2009-2017. In 2018, he unsuccessfully challenged Czech President Miloš Zeman in a runoff election.

Drahoš is the second highest ranking Czech official to announce plans to visit Taiwan, despite pressure from China.

Senate Speaker Vystrčil, who will lead a trade mission to Taiwan in late August, is the second-highest ranking official in the Czech Republic, after the head of state.