China should replace its ambassador in the Czech Republic after the Chinese embassy sent a threatening letter to Czech authorities, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis said, a position that might further strain relations between the two countries.
China’s embassy in Prague said in a Jan. 10 letter sent to the Czech president’s office that Beijing would retaliate against Czech companies operating in China if a senior Czech lawmaker went ahead with a planned visit to Taiwan.
The letter suggested that Czech companies operating in China, such as the Volkswagen AG subsidiary Skoda Auto AG and lender Home Credit Group, would suffer if then-Czech Senate speaker Jaroslav Kubera visited the nation.
Kubera died before he could make the trip. His successor, Milos Vystrcil, is likely to push for China to replace the ambassador, and Babis would support such a demand, Czech Television reported.
“This man is quite distinctive, and what he has written, that is absolutely unacceptable, we must reject that,” Czech Television quoted Babis as saying.
He was referring to Chinese Ambassador to the Czech Republic Zhang Jianmin (張建敏).
Four top Czech officials, including Czech President Milos Zeman, who has pushed for closer ties with China in the past few years, are to meet today for a regular debate on foreign policy, where they are expected to address the matter.
Diplomatic ties between the two countries cooled last year when city authorities in Prague showed support for Tibet and demanded changes to an intercity partnership agreement with Beijing over a reference to China’s policy on Taiwan.
China quit the agreement and Prague instead entered a partnership with Taipei.
Babis’ government has repeatedly said it adheres to the “one China” policy.
Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday that despite China’s threats it would continue to expand exchanges and cooperation with the Czech Republic.
An earlier dent in bilateral relations came in December 2018 when the Czech cybersecurity watchdog warned about the risks of using network technology provided by Chinese telecoms equipment makers Huawei Technologies Co (華為) and ZTE Corp (中興).
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