Prague, Oct 10 (CTK) – Beijing terminated sister city pact with Prague and will suspend all official exchanges with the Czech capital city as Prague officials “made wrong moves and improper comments on issues related to Taiwan and Tibet”, the Beijing Municipality has announced.
The Prague City Council decided to withdraw from Prague’s sister pact with Beijing already on Monday.
“What they have done and said constitute a brazen interference in China’s internal affairs and a naked defiance over the sister-city relationship with Beijing Municipality which have generated very bad effects,” Being Municipality says in its Wednesday statement that China’s embassy in Prague sent to CTK and released on its website, adding that “It is hoped that related people in the City of Prague realize their mistakes as soon as possible, and offset the negative impact through concrete actions.”
The Prague City Council said it decided to withdraw from the city’s sister pact with Beijing because China is unwilling to debate Prague’s demand that a statement on Prague’s recognition of One China be deleted from it. The city’s withdrawal from it still needs to be approved by the City Assembly.
China’s ambassador in Prague Zhang Jianmin said on Tuesday that the plan of Prague’s withdrawal from its sister pact with Beijing was a step harmful to trust and Chinese-Czech relations. He said Prague would see its own interests harmed unless it changed its approach.
Czech Foreign Minister Tomas Petricek (Social Democrats, CSSD) criticised the embassy’s statement today and said the Czech government has changed nothing in its approach to China. He said he respected the decision of the democratically elected Prague City Hall.
Prague Mayor Zdenek Hrib (Pirates) said China has been openly threatening Prague, and therefore partnership cannot be spoken about in such a case.
Zhang Jianmin recently said the One China principle relates to China’s sovereignty and is a precondition for any cooperation and exchange China develops with foreign countries. He said the Czech government observes the one China principle consistently
The Prague City Assembly approved the Prague-Beijing agreement under the former Mayor Adriana Krnacova (ANO) in February 2016, although the opposition was against the article on the recognition of One China.
The current City Council called on Beijing to remove the pact’s article with Prague’s proclaimed recognition of One China in January, arguing that political proclamations have no place in similar documents. Negotiations followed in writing. The Chinese reacted negatively to Prague’s repeated urgencies to nod to the removal, and they did not react to the last urgency at all, which made Prague decide on the pact’s abrogation.
The dispute between Prague and Beijing also resulted in the postponement or cancelling of performances of several Czech music ensembles in China.
Culture Minister Lubomir Zaoralek (CSSD) discussed the situation with Zhang Jianmin in September, saying the decision harmed the image of China in the eyes of Czech people. The Chinese embassy maintained that the discord between both countries over a cultural exchange had been caused by the Czech authorities.