Other states avoid contact
Czech President on the phone with his counterpart from Taiwan
01/30/2023, 8:28 p.m
Beijing is stepping up its threats against Taiwan, which it does not recognize as an independent state. In order not to anger China, many countries avoid contact with the Taiwanese government. However, newly elected Czech President Pavel picks up the phone to call Taipei.
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen has spoken to Czech President-elect Petr Pavel on the phone. This is considered an unusual move given the lack of formal ties between the two countries. During the 15-minute phone call, both heads of state emphasized their countries’ shared values of freedom, democracy and human rights, both offices said.
Most states avoid high-level public contacts with Taiwan and the President because they do not want to provoke China. Both the USA, Germany and the EU countries are pursuing a one-China policy. They therefore do not maintain full diplomatic relations with the island of Taiwan, which Beijing regards as a breakaway province.
The phone call is seen as a political signal in diplomatic circles, but not as a breach of this rule because Pavel is not yet president. In recent months, Beijing has escalated its military threats against Taiwan. The People’s Republic of China does not recognize Taiwan as an independent state, but regards the island as its own territory.
Pavel’s predecessor was pro-Beijing
Pavel will not take office until early March, replacing President Milos Zeman, who is known for his pro-Beijing stance. Zeman spoke to Chinese President Xi Jinping in January, emphasizing the “personal, friendly” relationship, according to his office.
In 2020, the then-Chairman of the Czech Senate, Milos Vystrcil, visited Taiwan and declared himself a Taiwanese in a speech to the Taiwanese parliament – in reference to the late US President John F. Kennedy, who described himself as a Berliner in divided Berlin in 1963 would have.