PM Fiala Dismisses China’s Criticism of Pavel’s Call To Taiwanese President

The Czech Republic has good relations in economy, education and research with democratic Taiwan. Photo credit: Freepik.

Prague, Jan 31 (CTK) – The Czech Republic is a sovereign state and therefore makes its own decisions on whom its representatives will call and meet, Prime Minister Petr Fiala (ODS) told CTK yesterday, responding to China’s criticism of the phone call on Monday between Czech president-elect Petr Pavel and Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen.

Fiala said Czech policy towards China remains unchanged and is in harmony with the policy of Czech allies. He added that while it is necessary to respect that China is a trade partner, the Czech Republic also has good relations in economy, education and research with democratic Taiwan.

“The Czech Republic respects and follows its own policy of One China,” said Fiala. “As a sovereign state, we ourselves decide whom we will call and with whom we will be meeting.” 

“We follow our traditions and point to the need to protect common democratic values,” he added.

Writing on Twitter, President-Elect Pavel echoed his words, saying he understood that China had reservations about his phone call with Taiwan. “However, we are a sovereign country and we are doing what we consider appropriate,” he wrote.

“Taiwan is a democratic country with which we share values ​​as well as significant trade relations, which is fully in harmony with the approved concept of Czech foreign policy,” Pavel added.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry said Pavel had said during his election campaign that the One China principle should be respected, but was now withdrawing from this position.

The presidential office of Taiwan described the phone conversation between Pavel and Tsai as a diplomatic breakthrough. Pavel told Tsai that Taiwan and the Czech Republic shared the values ​​of freedom, democracy and human rights and that their mutual partnership would be further enhanced.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said China resolutely protested against the phone call. She also questioned Pavel’s trustworthiness.

China views Taiwan as its province, and threatens it with military intervention if it declares independence. Leaders of most states avoid meeting top Taiwanese officials in order not to provoke Beijing, and not to give the impression that they recognize Taiwan’s independence.

Like most countries, the Czech Republic adheres to the One China policy, and officially only recognizes mainland China. Nevertheless, the Czech cabinet has repeatedly declared its interest in cooperating with Taiwan, with regard to Taiwan’s democratic character. Outgoing Czech President Milos Zeman maintained a pro-Chinese stance, and in a video conversation with Chinese President Xi Jinping earlier this month he emphasised the friendly relations between the two countries.

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