After the cancellation of a sister city pact with Beijing, Prague will sign an agreement with Taiwan’s capital Taipei concerning economic, business, and cultural cooperation
Prague has drafted a document that would have it enter a sister city relationship with Taipei, the capital of Taiwan.
The move comes several weeks after the capital and largest city in the Czech Republic decided to end its sister city agreement with Beijing, owing to disputes about the removal of a clause forcing Prague to recognize the “one China” policy, which the communist Chinese regime uses to claim Taiwan.
It is expected that, should the Prague assembly approve the document, Taipei mayor Ko Wen-je would sign the agreement with his Prague counterpart Zdeněk Hřib upon a visit to the central European country in January, Hřib told Czech media.
Taiwan and mainland China have been locked in a diplomatic impasse since 1949, when communist forces drove the republican Chinese government to the island. The mainland authorities claim that Taiwan is a renegade province of the People’s Republic of China, while Taiwan maintains de facto independence as the Republic of China (ROC), with its own democratic government and military.
In 1979, the ROC lost membership in the United Nations, when the latter switched recognition to the PRC. Most countries, including the Czech Republic, have formal relations with the People’s Republic while maintaining unofficial, embassy-like liaisons with Taipei.
According to the document on the potential sister city arrangement between Prague and Taipei, the agreement would further economic, business, scientific, cultural, and other forms of cooperation between the two capitals.
The Prague assembly will vote on the document on Dec. 12.
“The dispute between Beijing and Prague has afflicted Czech-Chinese relations that had not been optimal even before,” according to Expats.cz. “One year ago, they were affected by the Czech Cyber and Information Security Office’s (NUKIB) warning against products of the Chinese Huawei and ZTE companies.”
The 2016 sister city agreement between Prague and Beijing was controversial from the start, with many Czechs saying it favored the communist regime in Beijing over Taiwan’s democratic values.
Nov. 17 marks the 30th anniversary of the 1989 Velvet Revolution, in which people in what was then communist-ruled Czechoslovakia toppled the regime with peaceful protests. One week earlier was the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, which marked the end of the Cold War and the Soviet communist bloc.
The current Czech president, Miloš Zeman, who hosted Chinese leader Xi Jinping in 2015 and has been considered relatively pro-Beijing, has condemned the recent actions by the Prague government.