A high-level Slovakian delegation met Taiwan officials on Monday to discuss the deepening of trade ties. The 43-person group is made up of business representatives as well senior Slovakian officials. It’s led by Slovakia’s deputy economics minister, who said on Monday that Slovakia wants to be an “equal partner” to Taiwan, in good times and the bad.

Speaking in Chinese, Slovakia’s deputy economics minister says “Slovakia supports Taiwan,” eliciting applause from the audience. The official is in Taiwan at the head of a 43-person delegation. On Monday, they attended the first session of the Taiwanese-Slovak Commission on Economic Cooperation.

Karol Galek

Slovakia deputy economics minister

I would like to say that Slovakia is ready to became an equal partner and not only in the good but also in the hard times of the current pandemic situation.

Lucia Kiss

Slovakia foreign ministry official

Today’s establishment of the commission on economic cooperation opens new ways of active and direct consultations and dialogue between ministries on both of our countries and is an important historical event of our bilateral relations. Walk steady and you can go far. I hope that we can walk that walk together.

Back in October, National Development Council Minister Kung Ming-hsin led a delegation to Europe. The visit included a stop in Slovakia, where he signed seven MOUs with the country. Now, it’s Taiwan turn to host a delegation from Slovakia. Kung said Taiwan was forming a “virtuous circle” of bilateral exchange that he believed would bring positive change.

Kung Ming-hsin

National Development Council minister

The visits to each other’s countries and the exchanges are laying the foundation for opportunities to cooperate in development projects in the future. We are executing President Tsai Ing-wen’s vision of initiating virtuous circles. We hope that this can also extend to the realm of economic and trade ties.

Slovakia established its representative office in Taiwan in 2003. This is the first time the country has sent a high-level delegation of this size to Taiwan, making the visit especially noteworthy. The significance of this trip could also be seen in other details.

Slovakia’s delegation had traveled to Taiwan in a government plane with livery featuring Slovakia’s coat of arms and the official name of the country in Slovak. According to political analysts, it’s a sign that Slovakia sees its relations with Taiwan as being quasi-official.

Chen Shih-min

NTU Political Science Dept.

Although Slovakia doesn’t have official diplomatic relations with Taiwan, their choice of plane clearly shows progress in their relations with us, that they value their ties with Taiwan. I think that it’s almost tantamount to them saying they are willing to upgrade their relationship with Taiwan, or even establish quasi-official ties.

Scholars say the visit marks a breakthrough for Taiwan’s diplomatic relations, while showing the world that virtue always has neighbors.