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Taipei City, Prague Become Sister Cities

Taipei and Prague officials at the MOU signing event Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-Je arrived in the capital of the Czech Republic, Prague on January 13 local time and met with Mayor Zdeněk Hřib, who welcomed Ko personally at the old city hall before both of them headed to the Prague Astronomical Clock, a famous attraction in Prague, to view its hourly show.

After Taipei City and Prague signed the sister city agreement, zoo MOU, and tourism MOU, everyone involved all raised their glasses to celebrate the momentous occasion and look forward to more frequent collaborations in the future.

During his speech, Ko mentioned that he is pleased to meet Mayor Hřib once again, and this time it is in the beautiful city of Prague. This is the 4th meeting between Ko and Hřib within the last year.

Ko commented that Mayor Hřib led a delegation to attend the Smart City Summit & Expo last March, an event hosted by Taipei City; the visit paved way for forging a sister city relationship in the future. Hřib not only participated in activities in Taipei City but also demonstrated his support for Taiwan, so it is believed that Taipei citizens and the people of Taiwan are able to appreciate the enthusiasm and friendship of Prague’s mayor. Ko hopes that Hřib will come to Taiwan again because it is considered his second home, and the country will extend its warmest welcome.

In regards to the sister city program, Ko indicated that numerous exchange projects have been implemented between the 2 cities including scholarships for learning Chinese, resident artist exchange program, and the Taipei Sister Cities Youth Ambassador Exchange Program organized by the Taipei City Council.

He added that several MOUs will be signed besides the sister city agreement. For the collaboration between the 2 cities, Taipei Zoo will send pangolins to the Prague Zoo and offer assistance in raising them. Moreover, both cities will sign a tourism MOU; since Prague’s longstanding history and stunning architecture have attracted countless Taiwanese visitors, Ko also welcomes citizens of Prague to visit Taipei City. Lastly, Taipei and Prague will also sign a smart city MOU.

Last but not least, Ko concluded his speech by saying, “A big thank you to our good friend Mayor Zdeněk Hřib. Thanks for inviting me and my city hall delegation to Prague; today’s signing ceremony is not the end, but rather it marks the beginning of more frequent interactions between the 2 cities.”

During his speech, Hřib welcomed Ko and the delegation to the capital of the Czech Republic, Prague. He expressed that when he and his delegation visited Taipei a year ago, they were received with the utmost hospitality, therefore he is glad to return the favor and welcome the delegation from Taipei.

According to Hřib, Taipei and Prague have formed a longstanding friendship, and this goes to demonstrate that maintaining existing relations is a meaningful endeavor. People should be more vigilant when choosing between new and old friends, particularly when your old allies are facing a predicament, it is important to take the moral high ground when deciding between doing the right thing or the easy thing. Consequently, he is glad that both cities’ long-term collaboration will be upgraded to sister cityhood after signing the agreement.

Mayor Hřib mentioned that both cities are learning from each other and facilitating each other’s prosperity. Despite the geographical distance between the two, their democratic values, human rights culture, and respect for freedom have united the people. At the same time, both cities are also the leaders in their respective regions in terms of smart city development, therefore further collaborations on a deeper level are expected between Taipei and Prague in relation to culture, economy, and diplomacy.

He elaborated that Taipei is like his second home, so he often reminisces about the time he has spent in Taipei and the people he has met with a grateful heart.

Prague’s mayor thanked the Taipei delegation for visiting Prague, and he also wished them a pleasant journey in the city by making themselves at home.

After signing the agreement, Hřib uploaded the photo to his Instagram account, and the agreement-signing ceremony attracted a large number of local journalists.

At the meeting, the Taipei City Government presented a wooden carving of a pangolin to the city of Prague, and Prague returned the favor by presenting Taipei with the key to the city. It is known that Prague has only given away a little over 20 keys to the city in the past to distinguished figures including the Queen of England and Bill Gates, hence it is a tremendous privilege for Taipei City to be presented with the key to the city of Prague.