Czech senate president to arrive in Taiwan Aug. 30 on 6-day visit

Miloš Vystrčil, president of the Senate of the Czech Republic. Image taken from vystrcil.cz

TAIPEI (CNA) — The president of the Czech Republic senate Miloš Vystrčil will visit Taiwan for six days, starting Aug. 30, at the head of a delegation comprising about 40 political and business leaders, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said Thursday.

The itinerary for the visit by Vystrčil and his delegation, however, has not yet been finalized, Johnson Sen Chiang (姜森), MOFA’s director-general of European affairs, said at a regular press briefing.

“On the invitation of Legislative Speaker You Si-kun (游錫堃), Vystrčil will visit Taiwan from August 30 to September 4,” said Chiang said.

According to Chiang, Vystrčil’s delegation will include Prague Mayor Zdenek Hrib, who visited Taiwan in March 2019, and Věra Kuberová, the widow of Jaroslav Kubera, the late Czech senate president.

Kubera had planned to visit Taiwan in February, but he died of a heart attack few days before the trip and three days after he attended a Lunar New Year banquet at the Chinese Embassy in Czechia.

At the time, Czech media reported that the Chinese embassy had sent a letter threatening repercussions on Czech businesses if Kubera went through with the trip. His family later said the letter contributed to his death.

When Vystrčil took over the post, he said he would make the trip to Taiwan and that China’s threats toward him and his predecessor were only greater motivation for him to do so.

Although Vystrčil’s full itinerary for the visit has not yet been finalized, he is scheduled to deliver a speech about Czechia’s ideals on freedom and democracy, while the business leaders in his delegation will meet their counterparts in Taiwan, according to Chiang.

As the visit comes at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic is still prevalent in many countries around the world, Vystrčil and his delegation will be required to be tested before their departure from Czechia and on arrival in Taiwan, Chiang said.

The delegation will follow strict COVID-19 protocols while in Taiwan, wearing face masks and traveling in groups, in keeping with their itinerary, Chiang said.

In addition, MOFA’s liaison officers assigned to the delegation will receive training from the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on COVID-19 prevention measures, he said.

The visit by Vystrčil, the Czech Republic’s second most senior government official after President Milos Zeman, will highlight the desire of the two countries to uphold freedom and democracy, Chiang said.

The visit will also serve to strengthen cooperation between Taiwan and Czechia in the fields of trade, economy, culture, and people-to-people relations, Chiang said.

Vystrčil’s upcoming visit will be the third by a foreign dignitary this month, following trips by U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar and Former Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori over the past week.

In an exclusive interview with CNA on August 6, Vystrčil said that despite China’s opposition to his visit, he was sticking to his plan, based on his belief in the values of freedom and democracy, which are the “the cornerstone of prosperity.”