TAIPEI (Reuters) – China’s “vulgar threats” over a visit by the Czech Republic’s senate speaker to Taiwan are like a cold, unwelcome winter wind and contrast with the courteous words the speaker offered while in Taiwan, a senior Taiwanese politician said on Thursday.
China, which claims Taiwan as its sovereign territory, has condemned Czech Senate speaker Milos Vystrcil for going. The Chinese government’s top diplomat Wang Yi said this week he would pay a “heavy price” for visiting the democratic island.
Vystrcil declared himself to be Taiwanese in a speech at Taiwan’s parliament on Tuesday, channelling the late U.S. President John F. Kennedy’s defiance of communism in Berlin in 1963, further angering Beijing but winning plaudits in Taipei.
Speaking with Vystrcil by his side Taipei, Taiwan parliament Speaker You Si-kun praised his “stirring” speech at the legislature.
Vystrcil “was gentle and elegant, a paragon of a cultured country, like spring sunshine, splendid and warn – Taiwan’s people were deeply moved”, You said.
“Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s vulgar threats however were like a cold, unwelcome winter wind that cause discomfort.”
Vystrcil said he had invited You to lead a delegation to Prague for what he termed a “working visit”, and dismissed China’s criticisms.
“Of course I don’t like the statements, but I do not feel I have crossed a red line whatsoever, as I don’t think we did anything that was an infringement of the ‘one China’ policy as the Czech Republic has it within its foreign policy,” he said, speaking through an interpreter.
“As I have always said, democratic and free countries should always cooperate. There’s nothing to be changed on that approach.”
The Czech Republic, like most countries, has no formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan. China demands countries it has relations with accept that Taiwan belongs to “one China”.
Taiwan has shown no interest in being run by autocratic China.
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)