08/27/2020, 14.40
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Czech Senate president to visit Taipei amid rising Sino-European tensions

Senate President Miloš Vystrčil will lead a 90-member delegation, which will include Prague’s mayor, who recently cancelled its twinning with the Chinese capital. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi is in Europe to refurbish his country’s image. But Dutch Foreign Minister is worried about developments in Hong Kong and Xinjiang, as well as religious freedom for Christians, Tibetan Buddhists and Muslims.

Taipei (AsiaNews) – A Czech delegation will visit Taiwan from 30 August to 4 September, Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib announced yesterday.

Mr Hřib will be part of the 90-member group, which will be led by Czech Senate President Miloš Vystrčil and will include other political leaders as well as academics, business leaders and artists.

China is dead set against the visit, as it indirectly boosts the status of what it regards a rebel province.

During his stay, Mr Vystrčil will meet Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and address the Legislative Yuan, the country’s parliament.

On several occasions, the Czech leader has stated that mainland China’s threats against Taiwan have reinforced his intention to make the trip.

Hřib is also known for his support for the island. Last January, the mayor of the Czech capital concluded a twinning agreement with Taiwan’s capital, Taipei.

Three months earlier, after the Chinese authorities refused to remove a clause on recognising Taiwan as part of Communist China, he terminated the sister-city deal with Beijing.

Disappointed by China’s failure to live up to its promises to make investments related to the Belt and Road Initiative, Chinese President Xi Jinping's infrastructure plan to make his country the hub of world trade, the Czech Republic (Czechia) has become one of the European countries more closely aligned with the US position vis-à-vis  Communist China.

According to several observers, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi is currently in Europe to restore his country’s image in the Old Continent.

Europeans have criticised Beijing for its handling of COVID-19 pandemic, its crackdown in Hong Kong, the lack of internal reforms, and the risks associated with Huawei's 5G technology.

Wang warned EU countries to avoid being dragged by the United States into a "new Cold War", but his European counterparts remained unimpressed.

Yesterday, Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok raised concerns over Hong Kong and human rights during his meeting with Wang.

The arrests of local journalists and pro-democracy lawmakers, delaying Hong Kong’s parliamentary elections, and the new national security law are "extremely worrying developments," Blok said.

The Dutch minister also urged his Chinese counterpart to show greater respect for religious freedom in China, especially in relation to Christians, Tibetan Buddhists and Muslims.

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