Prague, Jan 13 (CTK) – Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib and Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je signed the Prague-Taipei partnership agreement on economic, trade and cultural cooperation between the Czech and Taiwanese capital cities today.
“The friendship between Taipei and Prague began many years ago,” Hřib said before the signing.
Until now, the Prague-Taipei cooperation was based on a memorandum from 2001. The planned partnership agreement was negotiated during Hřib’s visit to Taiwan in March 2019. The Prague Assembly approved the plan last autumn.
Ko Wen-je said Hřib showed by his last year visit to Taipei that he supported Taiwan.
In October 2019, Prague terminated its sister city agreement with Beijing due to the dispute over the deletion of a a statement on Prague’s recognition of the One-China policy. Prague representatives said such a political statement had no place in the agreement.
Ko Wen-je said the partnership agreement was a further development of the cooperation. He said Czech students will have many opportunities to go to Taiwan.
He mentioned art, smart technologies, tourism and exchange stays of young city officials as other spheres of cooperation.
Hřib said he is glad that the friendship is moved to another level, also with respect to the current difficult situation of Taiwan concerning its relation with the mainland China.
“The choice between what is right and what is easy is first of all a moral choice,” he said, referring to Prague’s decision to end the partnership with Beijing despite China’s criticism.
China considers Taiwan one of its provinces and has threatened it with military intervention in case of its declaration of independence. Yet Taiwan has been operating practically independently since 1949, it has its own government and a democratic regime, while the single Communist Party keeps ruling in China.
Hřib said though there is a big distance between the two cities, they have many things in common, for example respect to democracy and human rights as well as interest in smart technologies and the effort to use them in public administration.
Prague and Taipei representatives today also signed three other memorandums: on cooperation of its zoos, tourism and smart technologies.
The Prague zoo may get a pangolin, the only mammal with scales covering its skin.
The Czech-Taiwan relations have recently been discussed in Czech top politics. Senate chairman Jaroslav Kubera (opposition Civic Democrats, ODS) said he would visit Taiwan next year. President Milos Zeman criticised this plan. He said Kubera would harm Czech economic interests if he went to Taipei.