Prague, Oct 17 (CTK) – The Prague City Assembly today definitively terminated the city’s sister agreement with China’s capital Beijing by taking note of the abrogation of the pact by Beijing following Prague’s unsuccessful effort to have a clause on its recognition of the One-China policy deleted from it.
The Assembly’s decision was only formal, since the Prague City Council (government) approved the pact’s abrogation on October 7 already and Beijing subsequently abrogated it on October 9.
The sister pact was approved in 2016 under the previous mayor Adriana Krnacova (ANO), who argued that Beijing set the One China clause in it as a condition for China loaning a panda to the Prague zoo.
The current City Council, headed by Zdenek Hrib (Pirates) and comprising the Pirates, the Prague to Itself grouping and the Jointly for Prague coalition, called on Beijing to remove the pact’s Article 3 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.
At the Assembly meeting today, the opposition criticised the city coalition’s steps.
“You have provoked a reaction. I will not miss the [One-China] article, but wise politicians behave diplomatically,” said assemblyman Patrik Nacher (ANO).
He said Prague could have waited until the pact expired and then seek its continuation without the controversial clause.
Assemblyman Ivan Pilny (ANO) pointed at possible economic impacts of the pact’s abrogation.
Parrying their lash-outs, Mayor Hrib said it was the ANO leaders of the city, who provoked reactions because they made a mistake by letting themselves be entangled in foreign policy in 2016.
“The [One China] article has no place in a partnership agreement. At variance with usual practice, you made an inappropriate clause a part of the agreement in order to manifest your servility to an undemocratic socialist state,” Hrib told ANO.
He said the agreement could not have expired without being actively terminated by one of the two parties.
MP Jan Lipavsky (Pirates) told the City Assembly that its decision was correct. “The Article 3 was unfair and had no place in the pact. Any effort to politicise cultural cooperation is a mistake. China turned out to be a partner who blackmails,” Lipavsky said.