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Foreign Minister Wu speaks out against authoritarianism in Prague

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Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (right) receives a silver medal from Czech Senate President Miloš Vystrčil in Prague. CNA photo Oct. 27, 2021

Prague, Oct. 27 (CNA) Taiwan is willing to share its experience in economic and technological developments with like-minded countries to form "a force of good" against the threats posed by authoritarian regimes, Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said in Prague Wednesday.

Wu began his speech at a seminar hosted by the Czech Academy of Sciences and Czech think tank Sinopsis by praising the accomplishments of late President Václav Havel, noting that the shared values of freedom and democracy inspired by his legacy has connected Taiwan and the Czech Republic closely.

In the seminar held under the theme of "Towards a productive relationship: Engaging with Taiwan in multiple domains," Wu said it was important to discuss the future of democracy.

"Taiwan is on the front line constantly facing the onslaught of authoritarianism. Many European countries face a similar situation," he said.

Although "the combination of new technologies and social media has empowered citizens everywhere to voice their views," it has also allowed "democracy's enemies" to become "increasingly bold and outspoken," Wu said.

"Our authoritarian neighbor claims that Taiwan is a part of it and has to be taken back, by force if necessary. It also tries to cut off our friends and our participation in international organizations to force us to be alone," the foreign minister added.

Taiwan is receiving more support throughout the world, Wu said, citing the mentioning of Taiwan in high-level joint statements, such as those made by the United States, Japan, South Korea and other countries, and by the Group of Seven (G7) countries and the European Union after their recent summits.

"Since Taiwan and Europe face similar challenges posed by authoritarianism in areas such as disinformation campaign and hybrid warfare, we are also working ever more closely with each other on how to cope with them," Wu said.

He pointed to the Global Cooperation and Training Framework (GCTF), a program created by Taiwan and the U.S. in 2015 to address global issues of mutual concern, as a way for more European countries to work with Taiwan.

Wu noted that Japan and Australia have become full members of the GCTF, while a number of European countries have co-hosted workshops under the program.

"Democracies over the world should cultivate solidarity and shared vigilance," he said, in order to "better protect ourselves from being bullied by authoritarianism."

"As a reliable partner and an economic and technological success story, Taiwan is able and willing to play a proactive role in this long-term effort, and is willing to cooperate with all EU member states," the minister said.

Wu closed the speech by thanking the Central European country for hosting a Taiwanese trade delegation, which has also visited Slovakia and is now in Lithuania. 

He also thanked Czech Senate President Miloš Vystrčil, who led a delegation to Taiwan last year, despite protests from China.

"I am glad that Taiwan and the Czech Republic are building on this strong foundation, working together to craft our world into one that we will jointly defend," Wu said.

The foreign minister arrived in Prague Wednesday after wrapping up the first leg of his European trip in Slovakia.

After his speech at the seminar, he visited the Czech Senate and was awarded a silver medal by Vystrčil for deepening ties between the two countries.

Wu was scheduled to meet Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib, who visited Taiwan along with Vystrčil last year, later in the day.

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