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The elected Czech president angers Beijing by calling Taiwan

The elected Czech president angers Beijing by calling Taiwan

China criticized Czech President-elect Petr Pavel on Tuesday after his phone call the previous day with the president and Taiwan’s foreign minister.

China claims Taiwan as an integral part of its territory and is trying to keep Taipei isolated on the world stage.

Mr. Mao Ning, spokeswoman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said that Pavel (…) crossed China’s red line.

“He seriously interferes in China’s internal affairs and hurts the feelings of the Chinese people,” she added.

Mao said Beijing urged Prague to “immediately take effective measures to eliminate the negative impact of this incident and prevent Sino-Czech relations from being irreparably damaged.”

Pavel, who won the presidential elections on Saturday, will replace the incumbent, pro-Chinese President Milos Zeman on March 9.

Earlier this month, Mr. Zeman had a 45-minute video call with Chinese President Xi Jinping, whom he called his friend, praising the “friendly relations” between the two countries.

Meanwhile, Pavel spoke with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen who congratulated him on his victory over billionaire populist Andrei Babis.

“I thanked her for her congratulations and emphasized that Taiwan and the Czech Republic share the same values ​​of freedom, democracy and human rights,” Pavel said in a tweet.

“We agreed to strengthen our partnership,” added the former general who headed NATO’s Military Committee.

He also hoped to have the opportunity to meet President Tsai in person.

The Taiwanese presidency said the call, which was also joined by Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu, lasted about 15 minutes.

“The head of state (…) acknowledged that President-elect Pavel continues the spirit of former Czech President (Václav) Havel, who respects democracy, freedom and human rights, and the institutions of the Republic, and shares the same ideas with Taiwan,” Ms. Tsai’s office said in a statement.

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Vaclav Havel was the first president of the Czech Republic, from 1993 to 2003.

Mao said Beijing had urged Prague to “strictly abide by its political commitment to the one-China principle” to which the European Union adheres.

In a radio interview on Sunday, Pavel said that the one-China policy should be complemented by the principle of “two systems” policies.