Taipei: Tsai Ing-wen meets with the Czech Senate President amid Beijing protests

"I am Taiwanese," said Miloš Vystrčil, who has been visiting the island since 30 August. The two countries united by a common history of struggle against communism. The Taiwanese president gives a posthumous honour to the predecessor of the Czech politician, who was recently threatened by the Chinese. European chancelleries critical of China.

Taipei (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen today met with the Czech Senate President Miloš Vystrčil, in an encounter that will undoubtedly rekindle the controversy with China. Ù

The Beijing regime has roundly opposed the Czech politician’s visit, as it represents an indirect recognition of what they regard as a rebellious province.

Vystrčil arrived in Taipei on August 30, leading a delegation of 89 people. He attended the signing of a series of trade agreements between the two countries, and delivered a tough speech against Communist China in the local parliament. Paraphrasing the famous words used in Berlin in 1963 by US President John F. Kennedy, Vystrčil concluded his speech by saying in Mandarin "I am Taiwanese!".

During the meeting with the Czech representative, Tsai recalled that Taiwan and the Czech Republic have a common history of fighting an authoritarian regime for the triumph of democracy. The Taiwanese leader then delivered to Vystrčil a posthumous honour for Jaroslav Kubera, his predecessor in the Prague Senate.

Kubera died in February, just days before making an official visit to Taipei. His wife, Věra Kuberová, later stated that the Beijing attacks contributed to his death. According to Czech press reports, the Chinese embassy in Prague had sent a letter to local authorities threatening consequences in economic relations between the two countries if Kubera did not give up on his trip to Taiwan.

The Chinese leadership spared no threats against Vystrčil either. On August 31, at the end of a meeting in Paris with his French counterpart, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that the Czech politician would "pay dearly" for his trip to the island, seen by Beijing as a violation of "the One China" principle.

Wang's words against Vystrčil have infuriated several European chancelleries. On September 1, during a joint press conference with his Chinese counterpart, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas condemned the words of the Beijing envoy, demanding respect for European leaders.