The Czech Republic should maintain normal, mutually beneficial relations with China, former President Václav Klaus and outgoing Chinese Ambassador Zhang Jianmin agreed at a meeting on Monday.
According to Petr Macinka from the Václav Klaus Institute, Klaus and Zhang talked about Czech-Chinese relations, the international situation, and its prospects.
Klaus stressed that it is in the interest of the Czech Republic to maintain mutually beneficial and normal relations with one of the world’s great powers.
“Such a relationship presupposes an open and patient exchange of views free of unnecessary prejudices and domestic politics. It also applies to topics on which we have differing views,” Klaus said after the meeting.
Macinka added that Klaus and the Chinese ambassador believe that artificially provoking hostility will not bring anything positive.
Zhang will soon leave the Chinese embassy after about three and a half years. He made headlines at the beginning of 2019 when the then Prime Minister Andrej Babiš accused him of lying about their pre-Christmas meeting regarding the National Cyber and Information Security Agency’s (NÚKIB) warning. The authority issued a warning against the use of Huawei and ZTE software and hardware. Zhang’s name was also often mentioned at a time when the Czech Republic was buying protective coronavirus equipment from China.
Zhang will finish his mandate as a Chinese ambassador to Prague in the coming weeks. The diplomat is scheduled to meet with President Miloš Zeman on Wednesday.
Zeman would fly to China if healthy
Relations with China are now the focus of the Olympic Games after some Western countries refused to send senior political leaders to the opening ceremony in protest against human rights violations in the country. The Czech Republic also joined these countries, as the government did not send a representative to Beijing. Chamber of Deputies Speaker Markéta Pekarová Adamová and Senate President Miloš Vystrčil had also previously called for a political boycott of the Olympics.
However, President Miloš Zeman disagreed, telling CNN Prima News that if he was healthy, he would probably fly to China.