Taiwan visit doesn’t violate ‘one China’ policy: Czech Senate president

Czech Senate President Miloš Vystrčil speaks at a Ministry of Foreign Affairs press conference in Taipei Thursday. (CNA)

TAIPEI (CNA) — Czech Senate President Miloš Vystrčil on Thursday insisted he did not cross Beijing’s “red line” with his visit to Taiwan and vowed that bilateral cooperation will continue.

Vystrčil made the statement at a meet-the-press event held at Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA). He was responding to media questions about a warning from Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (王毅) on Monday in Germany that Vystrčil will pay a “heavy price” for visiting Taiwan.

“I don’t like the statement. But on the other hand, I do not feel like I crossed the redline whatsoever, because I think we didn’t do anything that infringed the ‘one China’ policy,” said Vystrčil, the second-highest ranking official in the Czech Republic.

He stressed that Czech foreign policy does not forbid the Senate from engaging in “parliamentary diplomacy” with Taiwan, adding that every country, including Czechia, has its own interpretation of the so-called “one China” policy.

Asked whether he will continue to support Taiwan despite threats from Beijing, Vystrčil reiterated that “democratic and free countries should always cooperate each other” and said there will be no change to that approach.

Vystrčil arrived in Taiwan on Sunday for a six-day visit at the head of an 89-member delegation, which includes eight Czech senators and Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib.

The visit has been strongly condemned by China, which sees Taiwan as part of its territory and opposes any official contact that could elevate Taiwan’s status as an independent nation.

In his opening remarks during the event, Vystrčil said his Taiwan trip is a working visit and not an official one representing the Czech government.

He said the purposes of his visit include creating more bilateral cooperation between Czechia and Taiwan in the fields of economics, science research and development, investment and health care.

Meanwhile, Taiwan’s foreign minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) stressed that Taiwan is trying to maintain the “status quo” across the Taiwan Strait, when asked by a Czech reporter whether the recent modification of Taiwan passport indicates Taiwan’s drive towards independence.

“The status quo is that Taiwan does not belong to China. Taiwan is governed by its own people,” Wu said.

MOFA on Wednesday unveiled the new cover of the Taiwan passport, in which Taiwan’s formal designation “Republic of China” is written in such small lettering as to be barely discernible and the word “Taiwan” is placed at the center in a much larger font.

“The new passport reflects the desire of Taiwanese people to highlight Taiwan,” Wu said.

Some sectors in Taiwan have argued that the country’s formal name “Republic of China” may lead to confusion over Taiwan’s national identity as some foreign nationals might mistake “Republic of China” for “People’s Republic of China.”