Miloš Zeman at the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing on April 27, 2019 via Wikimedia / Presidential Press and Information Office

China has not fulfilled its promise of investment in the Czech Republic, says President Miloš Zeman

Czech President Miloš Zeman will not go to China to take part in the 17+1 summit of the heads of China and Central and Eastern European countries in April

Lany, Central Bohemia, Jan 12 (CTK) – Czech President Miloš Zeman will not go to China to take part in the 17+1 summit of the heads of China and Central and Eastern European countries in April and one of his reasons is that China promised to invest in Czechia but did not do it, he told Blesk.cz server today.

“I think that China did not fulfil its promise. I speak of investments,” he said.

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Zeman confirmed to the server that he would attend the celebration of the WW2 end 75th anniversary in Moscow in May.

He said during this visit he wanted to complain about the Russian Foreign Ministry official who late last year criticised the Czech decision to make August 21 a significant day, the Day of the Victims of the Invasion of 1968 and Subsequent Occupation by Warsaw Pact Armies.

This official said Czechs were unwilling to turn this specific page of history which mires the air of Czech-Russian relations.

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The troops of five Warsaw Pact countries invaded the country in the night of August 21, 1968, which crushed the Communist reform movement known as the Prague Spring. Soviet troops occupied Czechoslovakia from 1968 and left it only in 1991.

Zeman recalled that during his previous visit to Moscow a Russian magazine published an article celebrating Russian soldiers who took part in the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia. He then complained to Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev about this and the author of the article was dismissed from the magazine.

He said he would therefore suggest that the Russian Foreign Ministry official who was responsible for this diplomatic faux pas should leave his post at the ministry. He added that he believed that it was not Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov who was responsible for it.

When speaking of China, Zeman said the fact that a significant political figure but not the president would go to the 1711 summit is a signal.

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He said his another reason for nothing going to China is that he as president visited the country five times and now it is time for somebody else to go.

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Zeman said he would ask Deputy Prime Minister Jan Hamacek (Social Democrats, CSSD) to represent him in China.

Zeman said he understands that the steps of Prague Mayor Zdenek Hrib (Pirates), who wanted to delete a statement on One-China policy from the Prague-Beijing partnership agreement, may irritate China.

He said Senate chairman Jaroslav Kubera (Civic Democrats, ODS) would harm Czech economic relation with China if he makes an official trip to Taiwan.

With respect to the One-China policy, the Czech Republic does not recognise Taiwan as an independent state. China considers Taiwan one of its provinces and has threatened Taiwan with a military intervention if it declared independence. Yet Taiwan has been operating more or less independently since 1949, it has its own government and a democratic regime, while the single, communist party keeps ruling in China.

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Zeman told Blesk.cz that he was ready to speak about the planned memorial to the Russian Liberation Army (ROA) fallen soldiers during his visit to Moscow in May if Russia’s representatives would like to discuss it.

The memorial is to be built in the Reporyje neighbourhood of Prague this year. The Russian Foreign Ministry has condemned the plan.

Zeman said memorials of ROA soldiers should not be built because they had done a lot of bad things during World War Two, apart from having helped liberate Prague from the Nazis in May 1945.

The members of the ROA, also known as the Vlasov army, were Soviet citizens who, after being taken prisoners by the Nazis, joined the ROA, which fought alongside Nazi Germany close to the end of the war. In May 1945, however, the ROA helped liberate Prague and about 300 of them died there.

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