| 29 May 2024, Wednesday |

In diplomatic coup, Taiwan president speaks to Czech president-elect

Given the lack of legal connections between their nations, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen spoke on the phone with the incoming president of the Czech Republic, Petr Pavel, on Monday. This was a highly rare gesture for Taipei and a diplomatic success that will undoubtedly enrage China.

During their 15-minute phone chat, the two leaders emphasized the shared ideals of freedom, democracy, and human rights between their nations, according to their offices. Pavel expressed his desire to one day meet Tsai.

Most countries avoid high-level public interactions with Taiwan and its president, not wishing to provoke China, the world’s second largest economy.

Beijing views Taiwan as being part of “one China” and demands other countries recognize its sovereignty claims, which Taiwan’s democratically elected government rejects.

In 2016, U.S. President-elect Donald Trump spoke by telephone with Tsai shortly after winning the election, setting off a storm of protest from Beijing.

Tsai said she hoped that under Pavel’s leadership the Czech Republic would continue to cooperate with Taiwan to promote a close partnership, and that she hoped to stay in touch with him.

“Bilateral interaction between Taiwan and the Czech Republic is close and good,” her office summarised Tsai as having said.

Pavel, a former army chief and high NATO official who won the Czech presidential election on Saturday, said on Twitter that the two countries “share the values of freedom, democracy, and human rights”.

  • Reuters