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KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 22 (Bernama) -- The Czech Republic is set to introduce its own Indo-Pacific Strategy by end of the year, to ensure the country's interests are protected as well as to cooperate with countries of the region on various pressing global issues in the rapidly changing geopolitics.
Czech Republic's Special Envoy for the Indo-Pacific Libor Secka said that the Indo-Pacific Strategy is now on the final stages of being adopted, adding that the Indo-Pacific region is one of Czech Republic's priorities in its foreign policy as well as its current presidency of the Council of the European Union.
According to Secka, Czech Republic's presence in the region is not new as they were already here since the 1920s and the European country always had an interest on the various developments in the Indo-Pacific region.
"The fact that we have a national strategy on Indo-Pacific shows our interest in the region and how we perceived the importance of Indo-Pacific. We are a responsible international player. So we would like to address the current challenges such as issues related to maritime security and cyber security. We have to prepare to work together with our partners in the region,” he told Bernama in an interview here, recently.
In June, Czech Republic hosted a High-Level Dialogue on the Indo-Pacific in Prague.
He said on the economy aspect, the Indo-Pacific region was important for the country due to several reasons, among others Czech Republic being a landlocked country and with an open economy was very much an export oriented country. Secka said about 80 per cent of Czech Republic's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was comprised of exports.
Secka explained that the Czech Republic was also very much dependent on international trade. As such it is very vital and crucial for countries like Czech Republic to work with the countries in the region to ensure a free, open and secure Indo-Pacific for the uninterrupted exports and imports of goods and services and movement of supply chains.
"Our trade is very much connected to the Indo-Pacific region. Any disruptions to this means disruption to our economy," he said.
Secka pointed out that the Indo-Pacific region is also important for the country on the security aspect, as there are tendency among some countries in the region to change international rules and order or to change the status quo of international rules-based order.
He cited the ongoing war in Ukraine of how international rules have been changed and "if we accepted this, this could happen anywhere including in Indo-Pacific".
He said the Czech Republic would like to cooperate on security issues and other global challenges like climate change with partners in the Indo-Pacific region.
Replying to a question, the Special Envoy said that in many ways Czech Republic's Indo-Pacific Strategy was in line with the European Union's Indo-Pacific Strategy as well as ASEAN's Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP).
The AOIP adopted in June 2019, is based on the principles, among others strengthening ASEAN Centrality, openness, inclusivity, a rules-based framework, good governance, respect for sovereignty, non-intervention and respect for international law.
Under EU's Strategy for Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, the EU aims to contribute to the region’s stability, security, prosperity and sustainable development, in line with the principles of democracy, rule of law, human rights and international law.
"The EU Indo-Pacific Strategy helps us to prepare to implement our own strategy," Secka explained.
According to Secka, the Czech Republic has identified three areas of cooperation with the Indo-Pacific region under its Indo-Pacific Strategy as well as under its presidency of the Council of the European Union.
First, environment, especially protection of nature. He said on Sept 14, both the Czech Republic government and the Indonesian government agreed to setup three working groups namely on climate change, bio-diversity and waste management.
Another cooperation identified is in the area of space, especially under the Copernicus programme - the European Union's Earth observation data provider.
Secka pointed out that in ASEAN, there were about 56 million people who were affected by natural disasters annually.
"If we make use of the European Union Agency for Space Programme (EUSPA) headquarted in Prague, these people's life could be more better," Secka pointed out.
Another area is space industry and aviation, where Czech Republic has a lot of experience over many decades. He said the Global Action on Space, in collaboration with the Czech Republic's presidency of the Council of the European Union will organise a seminar on space cooperation in Bangkok in October.
The last area identified for cooperation is cybersecurity where Secka said that the Singapore International Cyber Week 2022, will be an opportunity for experts from the ASEAN and Czech Republic to meet.
During his stay here, Secka met with Malaysia's Foreign Ministry senior officials and informed them about the content of Czech Republic's National Strategy for Indo-Pacific and activities organised under Czech Republic's presidency of the Council of the European Union.
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