Temple at Jiufen Old Street in Taipei, Taiwan

Prague will sign a sister city agreement with Taipei after Beijing breakup

After the cancellation of a sister city pact with Beijing, Prague will sign an agreement with Taiwan's capital Taipei, concerning economic, business and cultural cooperation

Prague, Dec 2 (CTK) – The City of Prague will sign a sister agreement pact with Taiwan’s capital Taipei, concerning economic, business and cultural cooperation, according to a document that Prague City Hall approved today.

The document states that the agreement is a non-political text on cooperation in economy, business, science, technology, tourism, education, health care and other fields.

The Prague-Taipei agreement still has to be approved by the Prague assembly members, who are to deal with it on December 12.

Prague and Taipei representatives agreed to formalise their cooperation during the visit of the Prague leadership to Taiwan last spring.

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In October, Prague terminated its sister city agreement with Beijing due to the dispute over the deletion of a a statement on Prague’s recognition of the One China policy. Prague representatives said such a political statement had no place in the agreement.

Prague Mayor Zdenek Hrib (Pirates) told CTK that the sister city pact would be signed during the January visit of Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je in Prague.

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Hrib said the signing would not threaten the partnership agreements that Prague has with Chinese cities. “The cooperation is only formalised by the signing, we have been informally cooperating with Taipei since 2001,” he said.

The dispute between Beijing and Prague has afflicted Czech-Chinese relations that had not been optimal even before. One year ago, they were affected by the Czech Cyber and Information Security Office’s (NUKIB) warning against products of the Chinese Huawei and ZTE companies.

China reacted to Prague’s step by cancelling the previously planned concerts of Prague music ensembles, among others.

The Prague-Beijing agreement from 2016 anchored bilateral cultural and economic cooperation. Its Article 3, declaring Prague’s recognition of One China, met with a wave of criticism. The then opposition at the City Hall, TOP 09 and the Civic Democrats (ODS), said similar clauses have no place in inter-city agreements and no such clause appears in similar sister pacts signed by other European cities.

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The Czech-Taiwan relations have recently been discussed in Czech top politics. Senate chairman Jaroslav Kubera (Civic Democrats, ODS) said he would visit Taiwan next year. President Milos Zeman criticised this plan.

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 it with military intervention in case of its declaration of independence. Yet Taiwan has been operating practically independently since 1949, it has its own government and a democratic regime, while the single communist party keeps ruling in China.

On Saturday, Zeman’s team of experts condemned the actions of Kubera and Hrib related to China. Hrib previously criticised the Prague-Beijing pact and visited Taiwan.

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