Beijing has warned the Czech and Slovak governments that “no one should be under the illusion that China will take the necessary steps to defend its sovereignty.” This is a commentary on the visit of the head of Taiwan’s foreign ministry to both countries next week.
China considers Taiwan a rebellious province and an integral part of the Middle Kingdom. Beijing has never renounced the restoration of sovereignty over Taiwan by force. As part of its “One China” policy, Beijing does not maintain diplomatic relations with any country that has diplomatic relations with Taiwan. The only country in Europe that maintains formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan is the Vatican.
China sees the visits of Taipei government representatives to other countries as a hidden form of support for Taiwan’s independence, which is a red line for China. The recent pressure exerted by China on Taiwan has been increasing, and military tension between Taipei and Beijing has been at its greatest in more than 40 years, according to Taiwan’s Defense Minister.
Taiwan’s foreign minister, Joseph Wu, will visit the Czech Republic and Slovakia next week – first he will attend a forum organized by the Slovak think tank, and then he will travel to Prague, where he will meet the chairman of the Czech Senate, Milos Vystrcil, and the mayor of Prague, Zdenek Hrib.
China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin, when asked if Beijing is considering measures against the Czech Republic and Slovakia, replied that “China will take appropriate and necessary steps to firmly defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity.” “Nobody should have any illusions about that,” he added, but without further developing his thoughts.
China is already in a dispute with Lithuania after the government in Vilnius agreed to open a representative office of Taiwan that will act as the de facto embassy of Taiwan in Lithuania. As a result of the dispute, China called an ambassador from Vilnius for consultations, and Lithuania called an ambassador from Beijing for consultations.