TAIPEI (The China Post) — Czech Senate leader Milos Vystrcil declared himself a “Taiwanese” on Tuesday, channeling late U.S. President John F. Kennedy’s speech in defiance against East Communism Berlin in 1963, saying “I am a Berliner”.
Following Beijing’s recent threat to make Vystrcil pay a “heavy price” for visiting Taiwan, the pointed remark is likely to further anger the Chinese government.
In a speech at Taiwan’s parliament, Vystrcil said Kennedy’s statement that he was a citizen of Berlin was an important message of freedom from communism.
He added that his visit to Taiwan underscored the need for a “values-based” foreign policy.
Though the Czech government did not support the visit, it was reportedly angered by China’s threat; thus, summoning the Chinese ambassador to voice their displeasure.
Czech President Milos Zeman has sought closer economic and political ties with China since taking office in 2013, but his efforts have been hit by failed investment plans that should allow China’s Huawei Technologies to play a key role in developing a next-generation telecommunications network.