President Miloš Zeman will visit China in 2022. His office announced this after Wednesday’s phone call from Zeman to Chinese President Xi Jinping. They also talked about economic cooperation. According to President’s spokesman Jiří Ovčáček, President Xi Jinping considers the Czech Republic to be a key partner within the European Union. He also expressed solidarity with Czechia over the recent disaster caused by a tornado.
According to the President’s office, the phone call was initiated by the Chinese President. An additional topic of conversation was specific activities in expanding economic cooperation between the two countries.
“During past visits, the Presidents exchanged trees as a gift. This year, the President of the Republic gave his Chinese counterpart an apple tree. In the phone call, the Presidents assured each other that both trees were growing well,” said Zeman’s spokesman Ovčáček.
The Czech President confirmed to his Chinese counterpart that he planned to visit China in 2022. If the trip takes place, it would be Zeman’s an additional step forward among many visits to this country as President. The last time he was in China was in April 2019. He also planned to travel there last year, as he wanted to attend the 17 + 1 Summit. However, the meeting of Central and Eastern Europe representatives and China was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. It took place in the end via video this year.
Zeman has long supported cooperation with China. In the past, he promised significant Chinese investments in the Czech Republic, though the amount was much lower in the end. He has been repeatedly criticized for his stance on China, which faces allegations of human rights violations.
According to Ovčáček, Wednesday’s phone call was “part of communication with European leaders” as Xi Jinping phoned French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, as well. Their virtual summit took place on Monday. During the online meeting, Xi Jinping called on France and Germany not to join US anti-China policies.
Title image: China’s President Xi Jinping, right, and Czech Republic’s President Milos Zeman walk to their meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Sunday, April 28, 2019. (Madoka Ikegami/Pool Photo via AP)