PRAGUE, June 21 -- Czech President Vaclav Havel met Thursday with Taiwanese Premier Lien Chan despite serious tensions the visit has caused in Czech-Chinese relations. Chinese education officials cut off negotiations with the Czechs and abruptly ended their visit to Prague to protest Lien's visit and his meeting with Czech Premier Vaclav Klaus Tuesday.
Lien Chan arrived in Prague on Sunday for an unofficial three-day visit, but extended his stay unexpectedly to meet Czech President Havel, before leaving for Frankfurt. China has heavily criticized Lien's Czech visit. 'Despite repeated warnings from the Chinese side, Czech President Havel met the Taiwanese premier after meeting Premier Klaus,' Chinese Embassy press spokesman Zhungpo Huan told United Press International. 'It demonstrates that the Czech Republic has gone far along the path of worsening Czech-Chinese relations.' 'I have to express the exasperation of China,' added Huan. 'The Chinese side will take further measures in reaction to the meeting.' However, he said it is too early to say what steps will China take. Reacting to China's criticisms, Havel told the Czech news agency CTK that he does not consider Lien's visit anything exceptional. 'President Havel met Lien Chan for a private visit,' said presidential press spokesman Ladislav Spacek. '(The Taiwanese premier) even extended his stay in Prague so that he could meet with Mr. President.' He said the premier informed Havel about the respect he enjoys in Taiwan and sent him greetings from Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui. The two officials mainly discussed economic relations between the Czech Republic and Taiwan. Lien also talked about the progress of democracy in his country and its growing economic relations with China, Spacek said.