China warns Czech official of ‘heavy price’ for Taiwan visit

Beijing, Aug 31 (efe-epa).- China on Monday warned the Czech senate speaker Milos Vystrcil would pay a heavy price for challenging the “One-China” policy by making an official visit to Taiwan.

“Those who attempt to challenge the One-China principle on the Taiwan question are making themselves enemies of the 1.4 billion Chinese people and will have to pay a heavy price for their moves,” said Wang Yi, according to state broadcaster CGTN.

Wang said Taiwan, which has been governed independently from mainland China since 1949, was an “inseparable” part of China.

“China has repeatedly said that it opposes countries with which it holds formal diplomatic ties conducting official exchanges with its Taiwan region.”

Wang said the visit by the Czech delegation was an act of international betrayal and that China “will not sit by idly” and tolerate this provocation.

The 89-person Czech delegation landed at 11 am on Sunday at Taipei’s Taoyuan International Airport. Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu received them.

The official visit of Vystrcil and other Czech political and business leaders will end on Sep. 4 when Czech representatives will meet with Taiwanese authorities and participate in trade promotion fairs.

“The (Czech) senate leader will give a speech on freedom, democracy, and bilateral economic cooperation as well as answer questions from students and the media (on Monday),” Taiwanese news agency CNA reported.

Also part of the Czech delegation is Prague Mayor Zdenek Hrib, who already had a run-in with the Chinese authorities late last year in an incident that led to the termination of the sister-city relationship between the two capitals, as Beijing wanted the agreement to include a clause acknowledging the “One China” principle.

“It’s clear that blackmail is a standard tool used by the People’s Republic of China,” Hrib, mayor of the Czech capital since November 2018, told EFE in an interview in February.

The friction in diplomatic relations followed immediately after Hrib took office as the leader of a coalition headed by the Pirate Party when he refused to bow to pressure from the Chinese ambassador to expel the diplomatic representative from Taiwan, which Beijing sees as a breakaway province under its “One China” principle.

The rift began when the Prague city council requested the removal of the clause that recognized the principle, which is a pillar of Beijing’s foreign policy.

Unlike the capital city’s authorities, the Czech government, led by populist magnate and prime minister Andrej Babis, does comply with Beijing’s stance. EFE-EPA


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