China warns Czechia will ‘pay a high price’ over Czech Senate president’s visit to Taiwan

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The arrival of the second-highest constitutional representative of the Czech Republic in Taiwan attracted the attention of dozens of journalists, partly due to the Czech Republic’s growing relationship with Taiwan, which has prompted the Chinese communist government to issue a stark threat to the Czech government.

This week, Czech Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček will summon the Chinese ambassador for an explanation about the threats directed at Senate Speaker Miloš Vystrčil, according to the Czech News Agency.

The head of the Czech diplomacy said this on Monday, shortly before leaving for Slovenia for the Bled Strategic Forum.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang I said that Beijing would force Vystrčil to “pay a high price” for violating the One-China principle by officially visiting Taiwan.

“It is not usual to choose such sharp and straightforward words, they are not used in diplomacy, I intend to oppose it. I expect the Chinese side to explain the words to us as it was really over the top,” Petříček stated.

According to him, Czechia follows the policy of One China, and Vystrčil’s trip to Taiwan does not change anything.

China demands that all countries with which it has diplomatic relations adhere to the principles of one China. This means, among other things, that they should not establish interstate relations with Taiwan, which Beijing considers to be its breakaway province.

“Of course, I am sorry for the statement, because it interferes with the internal affairs of the Czech Republic. We are a free country that is interested in having good relations with everyone, and I believe that this will be the case despite the statement, “said Vystrčil.

“We will make him pay a high price for his short-sighted behavior and political opportunism,” Wang said. He added that questioning the principle of One China means “antagonizing 1.4 billion Chinese” and that the Chinese government and its people will not tolerate such “open provocation” by the president of the Czech Senate and the anti-Chinese forces behind him.

Taiwanese press greets Czech Senate president in large numbers

At an international airport near the capital city of Taipei, about 40 photojournalists and cameramen were waiting for Senate President Miloš Vystrčil and his delegation, while journalists then monitored the arrival of the Czech delegation at the hotel.

Czech politicians are not usually used to such media attention. Foreign journalists usually show interest in Czech officials who comment at press conferences after negotiations with the top politicians.

The Czech journalist delegation is also relatively numerous by Czech standards. Eight newsrooms sent representatives to Taiwan.

Vystrčil is expected to hold talks with key political leaders and then meet with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, Prime Minister Su Tseng-chang, and his parliamentary counterpart Yu Shyi-kun. He will also negotiate with several ministers.

Strict hygiene rules

However, the visit also attracts attention due to measures against the spread of the coronavirus. Taiwan has dealt with the disease very well and the number of infected people is currently minimal in its territory. Coronavirus is mainly imported from abroad, therefore, foreigners must quarantine upon arrival.

To avoid this, the Czech delegation passed two tests for coronavirus before departure, and two more are required in Taiwan. They underwent the first of them on Sunday.

Members of the delegation must wear face masks everywhere and must not leave the hotel outside of official events. In the hotel, they can only move in predetermined locations where they cannot meet other hotel guests. Face masks are also worn by all pre-selected employees of the hotel or Taiwanese diplomacy who come into contact with the Czech members of the delegation.

Title image: Czech Senate President Milos Vystrcil, front left, is greeted by Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu as he arrives for delivering a speech at National Chengchi University in Taipei, Taiwan, Monday, Aug. 31. 2020. Vystrcil arrived in Taiwan on Sunday accompanied by Prague Mayor Zdenek Hrib and more than 80 representatives from government, business and academia for a six-day visit. (AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying)

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