TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Czech President Milos Zeman on Sunday (Sept. 6) slammed Milos Vystrcil, the country's senate leader, for visiting Taiwan and called his decision a "boyish provocation."
Vystrcil, who led an 89-member delegation to Taiwan last week, has attracted international attention for refusing to back down from Beijing's pressure, even after Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (王毅) said Vystrcil would "pay a heavy price" for his actions. During his address at Taiwan's Legislative Yuan, the Czech senator invoked John F. Kennedy's landmark anti-communism speech and declared himself as "Taiwanese."
In response, Zeman, who has been known for advocating closer ties with China, said during an interview with CNN Prima that Vystrcil did not respect the majority opinion of Czech senior officials and has jeopardized domestic firms by making them subject to potential Chinese retaliation. He added that Vystrcil will no longer be invited to any foreign policy briefings in the future.
Meanwhile, Zeman confessed that he understood Beijing's displeasure with the trip, but its comments were exaggerated, reported CNA.
Speaking with CNN later that same day, Vystrcil fought back at Zeman's criticism and said there were no written laws prohibiting Czech officials from visiting Taiwan. He emphasized that a democratic country like the Czech Republic has no reason to bow to Beijing and that Zeman's policies have made the country "addicted" to dependence on China, reported New Talk.