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⊙ ‘I am Taiwanese,’ Czech Speaker Milos Vystrcil Tells Lawmakers
The president of the Czech Republic''s senate, Milos Vystrcil, declared, "I am Taiwanese" on Tuesday in an expression of solidarity. Vystrcil was addressing the Legislative Yuan on the third day of his Taiwan visit. The Czech speaker is here with a delegation of 89 politicians and business representatives, defying objections from Beijing. In his speech to lawmakers, Vystrcil said he wished to express support for Taiwan using the words of John F. Kennedy, who in 1969 went to Berlin and declared that he too was a Berliner.
You heard right. He said, "I am Taiwanese." The visiting speaker of the Czech senate was invited to address the Legislative Yuan on Tuesday. Signaling his solidarity with Taiwan''s democracy and values, he sprung a surprise at the end of his speech. It was a reference to John F. Kennedy, who famously declared "I am a Berliner" in a 1963 speech. Vystrcil''s statement that he too was Taiwanese was a firm expression of what he stood for.
Czech senate speaker
I firmly believe that every democrat has the obligation to support all those working to defend democratic principles and to build democracies. Therefore, as a diplomatic representative of parliament, it is my great honor to be able to visit your country to exchange experiences, support each other, and expand the cooperation between us.
Vystrcil said the late U.S. President Kennedy had stood up against communism and oppressive regimes. He invoked Kennedy''s famous quote, "Freedom is indivisible, and when one man is enslaved, all are not free.''" Vystrcil said he hoped to channel Kennedy to express his support to the people of Taiwan.
Vystrcil is the first speaker of a non-allied country to deliver a speech at Taiwan''s legislature. You presented him with a commemorative gavel and a diplomatic medal. Then the Czech delegation went on a tour of a Lennon Wall set up at the Legislative Yuan.
The Czech Republic is a great country. It often confronts power and leads change. We can see it through Czech history. The 1618 Defenestrations of Prague. Prague Spring in 1968. The Velvet Revolution in 1989. These all brought about change. And now Speaker Vystrcil has led a delegation to visit Taiwan. This too will bring about change.
Taiwan''s legislative speaker You Si-kun hailed Vystrcil for braving the wrath of Beijing to visit Taiwan. You said Vystrcil''s visit testifies to the world on the existence of Taiwan.