Arms deal in dark should be watched amid DPP official’s Czech ‘business’ visit: experts
Published: Oct 20, 2021 10:51 PM
The Taipei 101 skyscraper in Taipei, southeast China's Taiwan. Photo: Xinhua

The Taipei 101 skyscraper in Taipei, southeast China's Taiwan. Photo: Xinhua

A business organization between the Czech Republic and the island of Taiwan confirmed the island's external affairs authority leader will visit the East European country in the next few days, but experts suspect that the Taiwan official's trip to the Czech Republic, a commercially underdeveloped country, may have another motive, perhaps a secret arms deal, which will only hasten the process of reunification.

Citing the "Czech Taiwanese Business Chamber," whose members are mainly Czech firms that do business with the island's counterparts, Taiwan media reported Wednesday that the leader of the external affairs authority, Joseph Wu, on the island and a business delegation will visit Czech capital Prague from October 23 to 27. 

The Chinese Embassy in the Czech Republic strongly urged the Czech Senate to fully recognize the highly sensitive nature of the Taiwan question on October 15, after the Czech Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defense and Security on October 13 approved a resolution to deepen cooperation with Taiwan island and expressed welcome to Wu's visit. 

In September, Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authority said an economic and trade investment delegation of 65 people will visit the Czech Republic, Lithuania and Slovakia in October.

According to Taiwan media on October 11, a Taiwan army commander led a small delegation to Washington to meet with senior US defense officials.

East European countries have strong economic ties with the Chinese mainland, but they are under huge pressure from the US to become anti-China vanguards, Chang Ya-chung, a member of Taiwan's major opposition party, the KMT, and Sun Yat-sen School president in Taiwan, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

However, it will be difficult for the US to fulfill its promise of "making up for the economic losses" to these countries if their ties with the Chinese mainland are affected, and talks with Taiwan about trade and investment have become an option. 

Some experts said it seems odd for a small market like Taiwan to talk about trade with the Czech Republic, which is more advanced in industrial technology and manufacturing than in business, let alone that most Taiwan companies are small and medium-sized, with less influence than their mainland counterparts.  

Considering Taiwan have reportedly had secret meetings with Czech Republic arms dealers in October 2020, some observers suspect illegal arms deals between Taiwan and the dealers may happen during the visit.

It is possible for the US to place orders to Czech Republic factories in the name of Taiwan companies, including various arms parts and military robots, and then sell them through Taiwan to other countries, or the island itself, analysts said.

Analysts said the politicians in the Czech Republic Senate set a bad example. In the future, some other countries may learn from the Czech Republic in developing "semi-official relations" with Taiwan, but this will only accelerate the Chinese mainland's efforts to resolve the Taiwan question.