China summons Czech envoy, warns Czech officials of paying 'heavy price' for Taiwan visit
Countries playing with Taiwan will ‘pay heavy price’
Published: Aug 31, 2020 11:18 PM

Czech Senate Speaker Milos Vystrcil waves upon his arrival at Taiwan's Taoyuan International Airport on Sunday. Photo: AFP

China has summoned Czech Ambassador to China to protest over Czech senate speaker's visit to Taiwan while Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi during his ongoing visit to Europe made a rare strongly worded response to the speaker's act, sending a strong message to other European countries that playing tricks with Taiwan island will pay a heavy price.  

Analysts believe that the Czech Republic's move was extremely bad in nature as Vystrcil was the first senate speaker of a European country with diplomatic relations with Beijing visited the island. However, it will not be followed by other European countries, as some media in the island expect, analysts said.      

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Qin Gang summoned Czech Ambassador to China Vladimir Tomsik to lodge stern representation and strong protest against Czech Senate Speaker Milos Vystrcil's visit to Taiwan, the Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement on Monday. 

Qin said that regardless of China's firm opposition and solemn representation, for his own personal gains, Vystrcil is visiting Taiwan island tempted by the Taiwan authority and instigated by anti-China forces. 

This is a blatant support to the separatists on the island and has severely violated China's sovereignty and interfered in China's domestic affairs. China strongly condemns the move, the statement said.   

China urges the Czech Republic to take seriously China's stern stance and concerns, and not to underestimate the firm resolve and willingness of the 1.4 billion Chinese people to safeguard the nation's sovereignty and integrity.

Meanwhile Wang said during his visit in Germany on Monday that anyone who challenges the one-China principle over the Taiwan question is to make an enemy of 1.4 billion Chinese people and is a violation of international trust and conduct.

Wang stressed that the Chinese government and Chinese people will not sit idly by when challenged by the Czech politician's blatant provocation and the anti-China power behind the politician, and will let him pay a heavy price for the short-sighted move and political speculation.

Vystrcil started his visit to the island of Taiwan on Sunday, seeking business cooperation with the island. He was due to meet Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen.  

Chinese analysts said Wang's response, made when he was in Europe, was tougher than previous ones, and sent a warning to European politicians that China will never allow them to challenge China's core interests. 

By mentioning the 1.4 billion Chinese people, the remarks by both Wang and Qin were also a response to the US' repeated provocation aimed at separating the Chinese people from the Communist Party of China, and sent a warning to Europe that following the US will complicate China-Europe relations, and that Europe will not like to see it, Cui Hongjian, director of the Department of European Studies at China Institute of International Studies, told the Global Times on Monday. 

Cui said the Czech Republic's move is an isolated case in Europe, and was the result of following the US in its China containment policy. But it will not spread to other European countries. 

Major countries in Europe, such as Germany and France, uphold strategic independence and multilateralism amid mounting US pressure, that has led the EU to deepen relations with China on bilateral and international levels, and they will not undermine the basis for cooperation, analysts said. 

The Czech Republic has more frequently challenged China on sensitive issues involving Taiwan, Xinjiang and Tibet, and had a strong domestic political anti-China basis, but this was not the case in other European countries, Cui said. 

However, some European countries have played small tricks with the island in recent years, and Chinese senior diplomats' response served as a strong warning to them, he said.

The Netherlands changed its trade and investment office in Taiwan island to the Netherlands Office Taipei in April, aimed at lifting its political relations with the island, and it irritated Chinese netizens who called on the Chinese companies to stop selling medical supplies to the country. 

For the Czech Republic, China is likely to exert pressure on the Czech government and urge it to publicly and formally oppose the visit and take measures to compensate for the mistake, Yang Lixian, a research fellow at the Beijing-based Research Center of Cross-Straits Relations, told the Global Times on Monday. 

China is the second biggest trading partner of the Czech Republic, and 50 Chinese companies invested in the country as of the end of 2018, creating 6,000 domestic jobs.

On Chinese social media, some netizens called on China to not resume air travel to the country even after the pandemic ebbs, and called on others not to travel or do business with the Czech government and companies. 

For some Taiwan media, Vystrcil's visit was very exciting news, with some even opening a  special channel to cover his visit. DPP authorities hyped "democracy", claiming both the Czech Republic and the island have the same democratic values. 

Cui said the island hyped democracy to chime in with the US in urging European countries to isolate from China. But it's futile. 

And interaction between the island and a small European country can hardly shake the foundations of China-Europe relations, analysts said. 

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