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China's top diplomat warns Czech politicians on Taiwan visit

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Czech leaders will pay a heavy price for visiting Taiwan. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Czech leaders will "pay a heavy price" for visiting Taiwan. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 31 (UPI) -- Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said leaders of the Czech Republic would "pay a heavy price" as a Czech delegation began a trip to Taiwan.

Wang, who is on a tour of Europe and recently met with French President Emmanuel Macron, said Czech politicians had made a mistake in visiting Taipei, Xinhua news agency reported Monday.

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President of the Czech Senate Milos Vystrcil "must pay a heavy price for his short-sighted behavior and political opportunism," China's top diplomat said.

"Opposing China's 'One-China policy' is the same as turning all 1.4 billion Chinese nationals into the enemy."

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Wang also said Vystrcil had engaged in a "public provocation" and that China and its people would not tolerate "anti-Chinese influence." China does not recognize Taiwanese independence.

On Sunday, a 90-member Czech delegation began a six-day trip to Taiwan, despite threats from China. Taiwan has welcomed the visit.

"The visit will be certainly fruitful and further deepen bilateral relations in various fields, including economic and trade," Taiwanese foreign ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou said, according to Deutsche Press-Agentur.

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Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu highlighted the visit with a hashtag, #defenddemocracy, while Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen said the two countries shared "many core values," Al Jazeera reported.

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On Monday, Vystrcil suggested China was interfering with Prague's internal affairs. The Czech politician said the Czech Republic, or Czechia, is a "free country" that advances good ties with all nations. Vystrcil also said this policy will continue "regardless of Wang's words."

Wang Mei-hua, vice minister of economic affairs in Taipei, said the visit could bring "substantial economic benefits to both countries," Taiwanese media reported.

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"Regardless of [Chinese] pressure, this visit will protect the freedom and democracy of Taiwan and the Czech Republic. It will prove to the world the will to protect human rights cannot be stopped."

Tsai has condemned the crackdown in Hong Kong.

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