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Czech Senate votes in favor of president's visit to Taiwan

Senate rejects Chinese pressure, pledges support for potential parliamentary trip to Taiwan

Czech Senate President Milos Vystrcil. (Twitter, Milos Vystrcil photo)

Czech Senate President Milos Vystrcil. (Twitter, Milos Vystrcil photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — In the Czech Republic's latest repudiation of Chinese pressure, the country's Senate has voted in favor of its head visiting Taiwan.

A resolution to send a business delegation to Taiwan led by President of the Czech Senate Milos Vystrcil was passed on Wednesday (May 20) by a vote of 50 to 1. The trip will be “in line with the long-term foreign policy interests of the Czech Republic,” it stated.

The Senate convened on Wednesday to discuss a threatening letter sent by the Chinese embassy in Prague to the Czech president’s office in January. The letter angered political circles in the central European nation, as it pledged Beijing would retaliate against Czech companies with operations in China if then-Senate President Jaroslav Kubera visited Taiwan.

Kubera died before he could make the trip, and his family later accused China of contributing to Kubera’s fatal heart attack with the letter. Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis, who previously endorsed closer ties with China and expressed concern over Kubera’s planned visit, commented that China should replace its ambassador in the country.

The resolution passed Wednesday “rejects” the Chinese embassy's threatening tone, arguing that such behavior has “exceeded the limit” of interference in the internal affairs of the Czech Republic. The resolution was proposed by the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Security and drafted by Senator Pavel Fischer.

Fischer said on Wednesday that the proposal for the Senate president’s visit to Taiwan is not an assignment but rather a sign of support. He also criticized the Chinese letter as a “scandalous document.”

Assuming the position of Senate president in February, Vystrcil has hinted at the possibility of visiting Taiwan despite China’s opposition. The more China attempts to interfere with the Czech Republic and its government, the more likely he is to make the trip, Vystrcil said on Tuesday (May 19).

He also congratulated President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on being sworn in for her second term Wednesday.