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China raps Czech president-elect over Taiwan call


China condemned on Tuesday a phone call between Czech President-elect Petr Pavel and Taiwan President Tsai Ing-Wen, saying he ignored Beijing’s repeated attempts at dissuasion.

Monday’s call was a diplomatic breakthrough for the China-claimed island, which has no formal relations with Prague.

“Czech President-elect Pavel ignored China’s repeated attempts to dissuade him and our repeated representations,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning Mao told reporters.

“He has persisted in stepping on China’s red line, seriously interfering in China’s domestic affairs and hurting the feelings of the Chinese people.”

Beijing views any official exchanges with Taiwan as an affront to its sovereignty. It regularly criticises visits by foreign lawmakers to the island, but a call between a head of state and Tsai is seen as graver.

“Before his election, Pavel publicly stated that the ‘one China’ principle should be respected, yet now he has gone back on his words,” Mao said.

“China once again urges the Czech Republic to…take immediate and effective measures to eliminate the negative impact of this incident and avoid irreparable damage to China-Czech relations.”

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Czech presidential candidate Petr Pavel speaks to the media at his headquarters, during the country’s presidential election, in Prague, Czech Republic January 28, 2023. REUTERS/David W Cerny

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen speaks with Czech President-elect Petr Pavel on a conference call in Taipei, Taiwan January 30, 2023 in this handout picture. Taiwan Presidential Office/Handout via REUTERS