The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday repudiated an allegation that Czech Senate President Milos Vystrcil received US$4 million from Taiwan for his visit in August, citing a Czech media report that said Beijing might be behind the disinformation campaign.
Czech news site Aktualne.cz reported the claim originated from Swiss consultancy RefinSol Advisory Services, which has close ties to Chinese “united front” organizations, the ministry said in a news release.
The ministry said that the allegation was further evidence of Beijing’s so-called “wolf warrior” diplomacy, which uses malicious sensationalism to influence foreign societies, as it called on other countries to reject the lies.
Photo taken from Twitter
“This is a blatantly absurd lie. This disinformation that is about me, it is the first time I have heard about it,” Vystrcil told the news site.
In its first assembly since last month’s legislative elections, the Czech Senate on Wednesday re-elected Vystrcil as president by an overwhelming majority, once again demonstrating the resilience of the Czech Republic’s democratic institutions, the ministry said.
Taiwan Representative to the Czech Republic Ke Liang-ruey (柯良叡) congratulated Vystrcil on behalf of Taipei and said that hopefully the two democracies would continue to deepen their partnership, the ministry said.
Vystrcil received 73 of 77 votes to be elected to another two-year term, the Czech News Agency reported.
President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), Vice President William Lai (賴清德) and Legislative Speaker You Si-kun (游錫堃) also congratulated Vystrcil via social media.
In a speech before the vote, Vystrcil emphasized the Senate’s independence, saying he hoped the body could be “a proud ship with its own compass” that would continue to safeguard the Czech Republic’s freedom, democracy and rule of law.
On Wednesday, the Prague-based European Values Center for Security Policy said that it plans to open an office in Taiwan next year.
The move is a natural progression of the cooperation between Taiwan and the think tank to counter hostile Chinese forces, center executive director Jakub Janda said.
The center made the announcement on the opening day of the sixth Stratcom Summit, which it hosted in Prague alongside the Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies, a Brussels-based think tank.
The two-day summit focused on European responses to Russian disinformation and malign influence, policy options for countering Chinese “digital totalitarianism,” the costs of rising Chinese and Russian influence in Europe, and the effects of Chinese and Russian influence cooperation.
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Harry Tseng (曾厚仁) delivered the opening address — titled “Foreign Meddling: Lessons Learned from Taiwan” — to the summit via video link.
Tseng shared Taiwan’s experience in countering foreign influence and how the nation as a democracy has staved off misinformation through immediate clarification and international cooperation.
While introducing Tseng, the European Values center said that Taiwan is “a great inspiration for Europe.”
“As a strong liberal democracy, it faces an existential threat from communist China. Taiwanese institutions have shown that they know how to defend their homeland in the face of pressure from Beijing, but the Taiwanese people need allied support,” it said.
The center called on other European countries to recognize Taiwan as an independent nation, and support its defense and security efforts, as it is “friendly, upholds fundamental human rights, possesses much knowledge to offer for defending the sovereignty of liberal democracies and does not use commercial interests as a means of political coercion.”
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