Mon, Mar 11, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Prague mayor to lead delegation to forum in Taipei

Staff writer, with CNA

Prague Mayor Zdenek Hrib is to lead a delegation to Taiwan later this month to attend a smart city forum in Taipei, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Saturday.

Hrib also plans to learn about the development of smart medical care, transportation and energy in Taiwan, as well as promote bilateral cooperation and exchanges, the ministry said.

Hrib, 37, is a member of the Czech Pirate Party and has been mayor of Prague since the municipal election in November last year.

The mayor found himself in the spotlight in January after he criticized a clause in an agreement signed in 2016 by Prague and Beijing that requires the European city to adhere to a “one China” policy and acknowledge that Taiwan is an inalienable part of Chinese territory.

In an interview with the Central News Agency, Hrib said the inclusion of Article 3 was a “mistake” and that he would seek to negotiate with Beijing to remove the clause.

If that fails, he would terminate the sisterhood agreement between the two cities, he said.

The mayor said he is a “fan of Taiwan” and often reminisces about the time he spent here.

Hrib studied medicine at Charles University in Prague and was part of a student exchange program with Taiwan.

“I felt like I was at home when I was in Taiwan,” he said.

Ministry spokesman Andrew Lee (李憲章) said that the ministry welcomed the visit.

Asked about the mayor’s comments on the agreement with Beijing, Lee said the ministry has always believed that exchanges between cities should not be bound by political preconditions, nor should anyone be forced to accept an agreement for political purposes.

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