Taiwan and Prague deal double blows to China

Czech capital Prague has decided to sign a twin city agreement with Taiwan’s capital Taipei.

(TibetanReview.net, Jan12’20) – In a double blow to China, Taiwan has re-elected President Tsai Ing-wen of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), seen as being independence-inclined, for a second term while the Czech capital Prague, having cancelled a “sister city” agreement with Beijing in Oct 2019, has decided to sign a twin city agreement with Taiwan’s capital Taipei.

The election campaign in Taiwan was dominated by Beijing’s efforts to get the democratic island to accept Beijing’s rule under a “one country, two systems” model by trying to undermine the incumbent president’s re-election bid, as well as by anti-government protests in China’s special administrative region of Hong Kong.

Tsai was firm in rejecting China’s “one country, two systems” offer and won another four-year term by a landslide while her DPP secured a majority in parliament.

Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib met with Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen in Taipei in March. (Photo courtesy: Handout)

Meeting with Brent Christensen, the head of the United States’ de facto embassy in Taipei, Tsai has said, “Democracy and freedom are indeed Taiwan’s most valuable asset and the foundation of the long-term Taiwan-US partnership,” while vowing to deepen cooperation with the United States on issues from defense to economy.

Tsai also called for talks to resume with China, but said she hoped Beijing understood Taiwan and its people would not submit to intimidation, reported Reuters Jan 12.

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China’s foreign ministry responded to the election slap by saying it will not change its stance on the “one China” principle and opposing Taiwan independence.

The ministry hoped the world would support the “just cause” of Chinese people to oppose secessionist activities and “realize national reunification”.

Communist China, which has never ruled Taiwan since it established the People’s Republic of China in 1949, views Taiwan as a renegade province to be eventually ‘reunified’, including by armed invasion if necessary.

A Commentary in China’s official Xinhua news agency Jan 12 dismissed the election result in Taiwan as a temporary counter-current, that “Whether it is to curb Taiwan independence secessionist activities or to benefit Taiwan compatriots, the mainland has a full ‘policy toolbox’.”

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has congratulated Tsai and lauded her for seeking stability with China “in the face of unrelenting pressure” while Japan’s Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi has also sent congratulations, referring to Taiwan as a “precious friend”.

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Meanwhile, writing in Welt am Sonntag, a German Sunday newspaper published in Germany, 38-year-old Prague Mayor Zdenek Hrib has said he could not sign an agreement that forced the Czech capital to “speak out against the independence of Tibet and Taiwan,” referring to his refusal to renew the 2016 “sister city” deal with Beijing.

He has also condemned China as an “unreliable partner” in his Jan 12 Sunday guest commentary and made it clear that his city will sign a twinning agreement with Taiwan’s capital Taipei.

Zdenek, who has been running Prague since Nov 2018, has said the twinning agreement with Taipei would be signed on Jan 12.

The mayor has also accused the Czech government, with its pro-China policy, of “neglecting” the ideals of the peaceful 1989 Velvet Revolution that ended four decades of communist rule in the Czech Republic.

“As mayor I am working to fulfil my campaign promise to return to a course of respect for democracy and human rights,” the AFP Jan 12 quoted him as saying in his Welt am Sonntag guest commentary.


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