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Czech Republic Cannot Be Lackey of China, Says New Senate Speaker

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The speaker of the Czech Senate, Miloš Vystrčil, has said that his visit to Taiwan has been approved in a resolution and that the Czech Republic cannot be a lackey of China, referring to a threatening letter sent by the Chinese Embassy that warned his late predecessor to cancel his planned visit to Taiwan.

The Czech Senate passed a resolution on May 20 criticizing the Chinese regime for the Jan. 10 letter it sent to the countrys second-highest public official, former Senate speaker Jaroslav Kubera, with regard to his upcoming visit to Taiwan. The resolution condemned the threatening tone of the letter, which stated that Kuberas trip to Taiwan would create “complications for Czech companies trading with China.”

“This communication has crossed the line to interference in the internal affairs of the Czech Republic and is in conflict with the declaration of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic and the Peoples Republic of China from 2014,” the resolution said.

The visits of Czech parliamentary delegations to Taiwan are “in line with the long-term foreign policy interests of the Czech Republic” and the Czech Senate supports the Senate speakers visit accompanied by a business delegation, it added.

The resolution was adopted with 50 votes in favor, while 1 senator voted against it and 1 abstained.

Xi Jinping and Czech President Milos Zeman
Xi Jinping and Czech President Milos Zeman
Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) and Czech President Milos Zeman review a guard of honor on March 29, 2016, at the Prague Castle in Prague. (Michal Cizek/AFP via Getty Images)

Vystrčil told Radio Prague International that Czech President Miloš Zeman told him in a meeting on May 19 that a mission to Taiwan would not contribute to the Czech economy.

Zeman is an advocate of closer economic and political ties with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), according to Sinologist Martin Hála from Charles University in Prague.

Vystrčil also told Czech newspaper Jihlavský deník that Zeman said he had warned Chinese officials against telling Czechs what they could or could not do as it would be “counterproductive, as it hurts mutual cooperation.” However, the Czech Presidents warning only intensified Chinese officials aggressiveness and their interference, Vystrčil said.

Chinese officials “dictate whether I can take a picture with the Taiwanese flag,” whether I can attend a ceremony when Taiwan presents a gift to the Czech Republic, and they “tell the director of my office whether or not to go on TV,” Vystrčil told Jihlavský deník. They even told me not to congratulate the elected President of Taiwan on her inauguration, he added.

After a review of the governments response to the Chinese Embassys letter, Vystrčil said that the Senate ”took a clear position” that the official reaction had been “lengthy, insufficiently vigorous, and not very confident.”

“This means, first, that we find ourselves in the position of a lackey because if you do not respond strong enough, your partner—if you can still talk about a partner in this case—considers you a subordinate,” Vystrčil said. “Secondly, the sovereignty, originality, and independence of the Czech Republic are weakened, because you admit that its policies can be influenced by the powers with similar threats.

“In this case, it is the Peoples Republic of China, a power that has a totalitarian character,” he told the paper.

Vystrčil added that he was convinced the letter had interfered in the internal affairs of the Czech Republic and that Czechia should have responded to it “with a note or a clear statement.”

Sudden Death of Former Senate Speaker

Czech Senate speaker Jaroslav
Czech Senate speaker Jaroslav
President of Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic, Jaroslav Kubera, speaks in front of the Czech Radio building in Prague during a commemorative event for the 74th anniversary of the Prague Uprising on May 5, 2019. (David Sedlecký/CC BY-SA [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0])

Kubera _