Czech Senate chair will "pay a heavy price" for Taiwan trip, says Chinese Foreign Minister

"We will make [Miloš Vystrčil] pay a heavy price for his short-sighted behavior and political opportunism," says Wang Yi

ČTK

Written by ČTK
Published on 31.08.2020 09:44 (updated on 31.08.2020)

Taipei, Aug 31 (CTK special correspondent ) – China has interfered in the Czech Republic’s internal affairs by saying Czech Senate head Miloš Vystrčil will pay dearly for officially visiting Taiwan, Vystrčil (Civic Democrats, ODS) told Czech reporters in Taipei today in reaction to a Chinese diplomat’s statement.

He referred to Chinese diplomacy head Wang Yi, who said Vystrcil will “pay a heavy price” for violating the One China principle by making an official visit to Taiwan, according to a statement released by the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

“We will make him pay a heavy price for his short-sighted behavior and political opportunism,” China’s Foreign Ministry cited Wang as saying about Vystrčil. Wang added, during a visit to Germany, that the Chinese government and people would not tolerate such “open provocation.”

Wang also said that questioning the One China principle meant making an enemy of 1.4 billion Chinese citizens.

Despite that, Vystrčil said he believed that the Czech Republic would have good relations with all countries.

Vystrčil added that the aim of his trip was not to “set oneself against someone.”

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Vystrčil said Wang’s statement was similar to the content of the Chinese letter that his predecessor at the Senate’s helm, Jaroslav Kubera, had received when planning a visit to Taiwan before his sudden death in January. In the letter, found in Kubera’s papers after his death, the Chinese embassy resolutely protested against his planned trip to Taiwan.

Vystrčil also said he had felt bad about Wang’s statement as it interfered in the Czech Republic’s internal affairs.

“We are a free country that is interested in having good relations with all, and I believe that this will be the case in spite of this statement,” he told Czech reporters.

“I must reiterate that the aim of this trip is to cooperate and create the best possible conditions for the economic development of the Czech Republic, and naturally for cooperation between democratic countries,” he added.

Vystrčil, with a 90-member delegation comprised of politicians, businesspeople, representatives of scientific and culture institutions and journalists, arrived in Taiwan on Sunday and will end the trip on Friday.

China, which considers Taiwan its rebel province, sharply protested against Vystrčil’s visit to Taiwan several times. President Miloš Zeman and members of the Czech government, including PM Andrej Babiš (ANO), also expressed opposition.

The Czech Foreign Ministry will summon China’s ambassador this week over the Chinese Foreign Minister’s words, Czech Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček told reporters today before his departure for Slovenia.

“A far as these words are concerned, I expect the Chinese side to explain them to us. The trip (to Taiwan) naturally has impacts on relations with China, but I suppose this is too much,” said Petříček (Social Democrats, CSSD), who will attend the Bled strategic forum today.

PM Babiš has not commented on the Chinese diplomacy head’s words in detail.

“China usually reacts in the same way when it comes to Taiwan. We have discussed this with [Petříček] and as far as I know we have agreed that he will summon the Chinese ambassador,” Babiš said.

“The government position has long remained unchanged. Our government, like all the previous ones, follows the One China policy. This is why I could not recommend the trip to Taiwan to Vystrčil. We are communicating this with China in the same way, saying nothing changes in Czech policy towards the People’s Republic of China. Of course, I perceive the Chinese foreign minister’s statement as something not quite usual in diplomatic relations,” Petříček noted.

He added that he definitely intended to raise objections to the words.

“This is our internal affair. We are continuously pursuing a policy that is clearly defined in relation to Taiwan,” Petříček said, adding that the Czech Republic insists on its right to cooperate with Taiwan in the spheres of technology.

Vystrčil called the trip “a historical visit” during the dinner with Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu on Sunday.