Czech delegation's trip to Taiwan makes international headlines

The trip from Czech Senate chairman Miloš Vystrčil, Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib, and other Czech officials has been covered by news agencies around the world

ČTK

Written by ČTK Published on 31.08.2020 08:41:32 (updated on 31.08.2020) Reading time: 2 minutes

Taipei, Aug 30 (CTK) – Many foreign media outlets and news agencies have reported on the visit by a Czech delegation headed by Senate chairman Miloš Vystrčil to Taiwan.

The delegation, comprised of politicians, businesspeople, representatives of scientific and culture institutions and journalists, is scheduled to stay in Taiwan until Friday.

The AFP French news agency states that this is the second important foreign visit to the island that China is attempting to isolate after a U.S. delegation headed by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar visited Taiwan at the beginning of this month.

The French radio server RFI calls the Czech Senate head’s visit “extremely symbolic.”

The Kyodo Japanese news agency mentions China’s indignation and the fact that Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib, who signed a sister city agreement with Taipei previously, is a member of the Czech delegation.

The AP agency recalls that Vystrčil’s predecessor at the Senate’s helm, Jaroslav Kubera planned a visit to Taiwan before his sudden death in January.

“Vystrčil said China’s pressure, including a warning from the Chinese Embassy against congratulating (Taiwanese President) Tsai Ing-wen on her re-election, contributed to his decision to travel to the island,” AP writes.

Kubera’s family accused China of having contributed to his heart attack by its warning letters, RFI and previously the Kyodo news agency reported.

The Taiwanese server Taiwan News stresses that this is a visit by the so far highest-elected Czech official to Taiwan.

AFP recalls  Vystrčil’s wish to follow up the legacy of Václav Havel, the first post-Communist president of Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic from 1989-2003. However, Havel visited Taiwan in 2004 only as a former head of state.

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President Tsai Ing-wen, whom Vystrčil will meet during his visit, is trying to strengthen relations with the countries with which Taiwan only has informal relations, said Jonathan Sullivan, an expert on China and political scientist from the University of Nottingham in Britain. The visit by a Czech delegation means a great psychological support in the face of Beijing’s pressure and its attempts to marginalize Taiwan, Sullivan added.

China considers the island of Taiwan one of its provinces and threatens military intervention if Taiwan declares independence. Despite that, Taiwan has actually operated independently since 1949, and has had its own government and democratic setup, compared with China’s single-party regime. Like most countries, the Czech Republic applies the one-China policy and officially recognizes only the mainland China.

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