China’s “bullying behavior” against the Czech Republic will earn no respect, but would generate aversion, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) said yesterday, referring to Beijing’s reaction after the European country sent a delegation to Taiwan last week.
The ministry expressed stern condemnation of China for abusing its political power to intervene in the free market, Ou told a news briefing in Taipei, adding that besides Czech politicians, Czech businesspeople have become a target of Beijing’s intimidation.
Ou referred to an incident in which a Beijing client abruptly canceled a 5.3 million korunas (US$237,154) order of pianos from Czech manufacturer Petrof on the grounds that the delegation’s visit had harmed the China-Czech relationship.
Photo: Ann Wang, Reuters
Freedom and democracy are necessary for a nation’s prosperity, so it is important not to rely on a non-democratic nation, she said, adding that “relying on China is tantamount to selling freedom.”
Ou’s remark echoed that of Czech Senate President Milos Vystrcil, who led the delegation, who on Sunday said that a democratic country like the Czech Republic has no reason to bow to Beijing.
Czech President Milos Zeman earlier called Vystrcil’s visit an act of childish provocation.
There is no need to overreact to China’s threats, as doing so would only fuel its fear-mongering behavior, Ou said.
The resilience Vystrcil demonstrated in the face of Chinese intimidation is the best way to safeguard democracy and freedom, she added.
Vystrcil’s 89-member delegation was in Taiwan from Aug. 30 to Friday last week to boost bilateral exchanges in areas including public health, science, trade and economics.
Czech Chamber of Deputies member Marek Benda, who has chaired the Czech Republic-Taiwan Friendship Group for nearly two decades, has also expressed interest in visiting Taiwan, possibly in spring next year, Czech daily Hospodarske Noviny reported.
The group originally planned to attend President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) inauguration in May, but the trip did not take place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Benda said.
Asked about Benda’s planned visit, Ou said that the ministry would release details at the proper time if there are concrete developments.
Separately, Kristin Shi-Kupfer, a Sinologist at the Mercator Institute for China Studies in Berlin, told Deutschlandfunk Kultur radio that the German government should follow the Czech Republic’s lead and send high-level officials to Taiwan.
Germany should support Taiwan amid Beijing’s increasing ambition to invade, Shi-Kupfer said, citing incursions by Chinese warplanes in Taiwan’s airspace this year and Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) not mentioning “peace” when talking about cross-strait unification in the past few years.
Germany can facilitate Taiwan’s participation in the WHO, before Berlin loses the presidency of the Council of the EU, she said.
European nations should take a leaf from Japan, which has deepened cooperation with Taiwan as it moves manufacturing out of China as part of its supply chain distribution efforts, she said.
Additional reporting by CNA
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