Prague's sister-city ties with Taipei escalates feud between Czech capital and China

By Wan Lin Published: 2019/12/5 1:06:22

The Voltava River runs through the city of Prague, capital of Czech Republic, November 21, 2018. Photo: Xinhua

Prague mayor Zdenek Hrib announced on Monday that the city will sign a sister-city agreement with Taipei in January 2020 and the decision has already been approved by the Prague city council.

Beijing terminated the Prague-Beijing sister-city agreement and suspended all official contact with Prague on October 9, after the Prague mayor publicly challenged the one-China principle.

Prague's further move of signing the agreement with Taipei after cutting ties with Beijing is highly politicized, an expert on European issues told The Global Times on condition of anonymity.

This is an edge ball played by the Prague city council, he noted. The agreement seems legitimate in a way that it promotes the exchange at a regional level, but the underlying political purpose is rather notable considering the escalating feud between the Czech capital and China.

Beijing's action of canceling the twin city agreement sounded a warning to Prague, but apparently the city council has ignored it and gone further, he added.

Prague mayor Hrib has clashed with China over Taiwan and Tibet since taking office. He previously pushed to remove the clause stating Prague's support for the one-China policy in the twin city agreement. In March, his municipal administration flew the flag used by the 14th Dalai Lama's "government-in-exile" from Prague's town hall.

The Chinese FM responded to Prague's and the mayor's poor decisions on issues concerning China's core interests and sovereignty at a routine press briefing in July, urging Prague city council and certain politicians to change course and stop undermining China-Czech relations to avoid hurting their own interests.

"The Czech government should impose pressure on its capital city council to make its national stand clear at this point," the expert noted.

The Czech government has consistently upheld the one-China principle, spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy to the Czech Republic noted on the embassy's website in October.

Posted in: DIPLOMACY

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