Sat, Mar 30, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Prague mayor condemns treatment of diplomat

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Prague Mayor Zdenek Hrib, left, and Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu attend a news conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Peng Wan-hsin, Taipei Times

Visiting Prague Mayor Zdenek Hrib yesterday criticized the expulsion, at China’s request, of a Taiwanese diplomat from a meeting held by the Czech Republic’s Ministry of Industry on Wednesday.

“From [the perspective of] simple human decency, it is unacceptable for me to throw [out] guests that I had invited as a host,” Hrib told a news conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Czech news outlet HlidaciPes.org reported that Representative to the Czech Republic Wang Chung-yi (汪忠一) was asked to leave the meeting after Chinese Ambassador to the Czech Republic Zhang Jianmin (張建敏) demanded it.

Zhang said it was in the interest of the Czech Republic and Czech President Milos Zeman’s visit to China next month, HlidaciPes.org reported.

Hrib, who assumed office in November last year, said that he had faced a similar request from China when he held a customary meeting with foreign diplomats based in Prague, but he refused to comply.

He reiterated his opposition to the inclusion of a “one China” clause in the sister city agreement signed by Prague and Beijing in 2016, saying that his predecessors made a mistake by letting Beijing drag them into such a complicated matter.

“From my perspective, I would like the Prague city to have mutually beneficial relationships with the cities all over the world, but those partnerships must be equally beneficial for both sides,” he said, adding that the clause only benefited one party.

The negotiations are ongoing, he added.

Turning to economic ties between Taiwan and the Czech Republic, Hrib said that Taiwanese investments have helped create job opportunities in his country, while many of China’s investment promises have not been fulfilled.

Most investments from China did not appear to be real investments, but rather acquisitions, Hrib said.

He also raised concerns about a scandal implicating Chinese oil firm CEFC China Energy Co, which has made huge investments in the Czech Republic.

“Basically, their primary representative just kind of disappeared and his direct subordinate was convicted in the US for bribing UN representatives,” Hrib said. “This is I think not the investments that I would personally welcome in the Czech Republic.”

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