Czech Senate speaker Milos Vystrcil will pay a “heavy price” for making an official visit to Taiwan, China’s foreign minister warned Monday.
Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Vystrcil’s ongoing visit to Taiwan to promote business ties between the Czech Republic and the self-governing island was a “provocation.”
“The Chinese government and people will never let it go and sit back and watch, and must let him pay a heavy price for his short-sighted behaviour and political speculation,” Wang said, according to a statement published on the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s website.
China considers Taiwan a breakaway province and prohibits other countries from having official ties with the island nation. China’s policy toward Taiwan is known as the “One-China principle.”
“To challenge the ‘One-China principle’ on the Taiwan issue is to become an enemy of the 1.4 billion Chinese people and is an act of international breach of trust,” Wang added.
Vystrcil is the highest-ranking Czech official ever to visit Taiwan. He arrived in Taipei on Sunday together with Prague Mayor Zdenek Hrib and a business delegation for the six-day visit.
Wang is currently touring Europe, as China is hoping to arrive at an investment deal with the European Union by the end of the year and to shore up relations amid increased tension with the United States.
Taiwan’s Minister of Economic Affairs, Wang Mei-hua, said the visit aims to deepen economic relations between the two parties, and that both are democratic and free countries that respect human rights.
“Both Taiwan and the Czech Republic won’t get freedom if businessmen from the two sides are not allowed to freely cooperate,” Czech official Vystrcil told a forum.
Taipei and Prague signed a memorandum of understanding on smart cities and the artificial intelligence of things, as well as two more on startup ecosystems and smart machinery.