Taiwanese government ministers visited Prague in late October in a move that experts said deals a blow to Beijing.
Taiwan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu visited Prague on Oct. 27 and 28 on invitation after the Czech Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Security passed a resolution supporting cooperation with Taiwan on innovation, trade, and investment.
During the forum, Wu called on democratic countries to unite against authoritarianism.
“The pursuit of freedom and democracy has always been the most important reason that our two countries are closely connected,” Wu said.
“Our democratic accomplishments … need to be underpinned by determination and principles. This is especially true in times when authoritarianism continuously seeks to undermine the values and institutions that we all cherish,” Wu added. “United we stand, divided we fall.”
From Aug. 30 to Sept. 4 last year, Vystrcil led a delegation of 89 people, including senators and businesspeople, to Taiwan for meetings with the top echelons of Taiwanese politics. His action was met with fierce vitriol from the Chinese leadership.
In an interview with The Epoch Times, senior political and economic commentator Lin Baohua and Taiwan’s National Policy Research Foundation researcher and military expert Li Zhengxiu suggested that the Taiwanese foreign minister’s recent invitation to visit the Czech Republic is a significant move for Prague.
“Although Taiwan’s foreign minister has visited the United States before, the visit was unofficial and secretive. This time, the public invitation from the Czech Republic is almost the same as officially recognizing Taiwan,” Lin said.
Li said, “Inviting Taiwan’s Foreign Affairs Minister is of great significance to the international community. It has far-reaching effects on both the CCP–Czech and the Taiwan–Czech relationships. Taiwan–Czech relations will undoubtedly deepen, and for the CCP, it is undoubtedly a diplomatic setback.”
Both experts said that because the Czech people were once under the rule of communists, they understand the dangers of the ideology. Similarly, Taiwan has a long history of being bullied and threatened by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Taiwan’s largest opposition party, the Chinese Nationalist Party, which has generally adopted a friendly stance towards Beijing, lost by a large margin in Taiwan’s past two presidential elections. From this perspective, Taiwan and the Czech Republic have a common language and can communicate in terms of universal values.
From an economic standpoint, the Czech Republic is one of the countries in Central and Eastern Europe where Taiwan has large investments as well as close economic and trade relations. As a result, many industries in the Czech Republic are relatively developed compared to neighboring countries. At the same time, the neighboring countries hope to strengthen cooperation with Taiwan with the intent of developing their economies, according to the two experts.
From Vystrcil’s visit to Taiwan last year to the Czech Republic’s plan to establish its first Asia think tank in Taiwan this year, the Czech Republic appears to be attaching great importance to the development of relations with Taiwan, according to Li.
The Czech think tank “European Values Center” (EVC) also signed a partnership agreement with Taiwan in April this year. According to a press release from the organization, it is slated to open an office in Taiwan in the second half of this year and will be the first in Taipei to be run by a private European think tank.
Lin said that he has always had great expectations for the development of Taiwan–Czech relations. He also hopes that the two sides of the Taiwan Strait—China and Taiwan—can stay divided on peaceful terms just like the Czech Republic and Slovakia. However, judging by the CCP’s continued assertive actions, this seems impossible in current circumstances.
Li believes that the CCP’s “wolf warrior diplomacy” prompted the Czech Republic and Taiwan to become closer. Initially, the Czech Republic welcomed the “One-China Policy” under its previous administrations, but the CCP’s assertiveness repelled the nation and many others. If the CCP continues with this forceful style of diplomacy, its diplomatic relations with other countries will only worsen, he added.
Joyce Liang contributed to this report.