China accuses Czech president-elect of challenging its national sovereignty by affirming relations with Taiwan

Streaming HUBFebruary 1, 2023

China on Tuesday accused Czech President-elect Petr Pavel of challenging its hard line on national sovereignty by reaffirming ties with self-ruled Taiwan in a phone call with the island’s leader.

Monday’s call represents a symbolic breach of China’s efforts to cut off already highly restricted foreign ties to the self-governing democracy, which Beijing claims as its territory without the right to independent diplomatic recognition.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Mao Ning said that Powell had acted in “disregard for China’s repeated denials and complaints” and “crushing China’s red line”.

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“China strongly opposes and condemns this and has lodged serious complaints with the Czech side,” Mao told a daily briefing. -Check regards.”

Pavel, a retired army general, will replace the controversial Miloš Zeman in the largely ceremonial but prestigious post. During his decade in office, Zeman has drawn criticism for his stance favoring Russia and China, authoritarian states that have strained ties since last year’s invasion of Ukraine in a joint challenge to the US and its allies.

Powell, who ran as an independent, is a former chairman of NATO’s Military Committee, the alliance’s highest military body. He fully supported the Czech Republic’s military and humanitarian support for Ukraine in its fight against Russia’s aggression and stressed the importance of the country’s membership in the European Union and NATO.

President-elect of Taiwan Tsai Ing-wen talks by phone with President-elect Petr Pavel of the Czech Republic on January 30, 2023 in Taipei, Taiwan.

President-elect of Taiwan Tsai Ing-wen talks by phone with President-elect Petr Pavel of the Czech Republic on January 30, 2023 in Taipei, Taiwan.
(Taiwan President’s Office via AP)

Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala responded to Beijing’s criticism by saying, “The Czech Republic’s policy towards China has not changed and is in line with the policy of our allies. Czechia respects and represents its one-China policy.”

“As a sovereign state, it is we who decide whom we invite or meet. We have good economic, educational and research relations with traditionally democratic Taiwan. It is also necessary to respect that China is an important Asian trading partner. We continue. in our tradition and we are stressing the need to defend common democratic values,” he wrote in a tweet.

In the call, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen said the two sides “enjoy deep ties and share the values ​​of freedom, democracy and human rights,” the official Central News Agency quoted presidential spokesman Lin Yu-chan as saying. Said to.

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Taiwan “looks forward to deepening exchanges and cooperation with the Czech Republic in key areas including semiconductor design, cultivation of talents in cutting-edge technologies, and supply chain restructuring,” Lin was quoted as saying.

China has increased its threat in recent years to bring Taiwan under its control, by force if necessary, prompting new sales of tanks and missiles to the island by key ally the US and expanding mandatory military service and Taking steps by Tsai’s administration to strengthen the domestic defense industry.

A series of visits in recent months by foreign politicians to Taiwan, including then-US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and several politicians from the European Union demonstrated military might from both sides. China has repeatedly threatened retaliation against countries seeking closer ties with Taiwan, but its attempts at intimidation have provoked a backlash in popular sentiment in Europe, Japan, the US and elsewhere.

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China expelled Lithuania’s ambassador, downgraded diplomatic ties and blocked trade with the Baltic country after boosting ties with Taipei. Lithuania has since closed its embassy in Beijing and opened a trade office in Taiwan.

A former Japanese colony, Taiwan broke away from mainland China in 1949 during a civil war and has never been under the control of China’s ruling Communist Party.

Under constant pressure from Beijing, Taiwan now has formal diplomatic relations with just 14 countries, mainly smaller states in the Caribbean and the South Pacific, but maintains strong informal ties with more than 100 countries. European politicians, some of whose nations were formally dominated by the Soviet Union, have been most vocal in pushing for closer ties with Taiwan.

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