The Czechs and Germans are standing up to China over Taiwan. Why?
By Daniel Johnson
September 2nd, 2020
Has invertebrate Europe found its backbone at last? This week, a blazing row erupted between Germany and China over the visit to Taiwan of Milos Vystrcil (pictured above), the Speaker of the Czech Senate. The Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who was himself on a trade mission to Germany, threatened to “make [Vystrcil] pay a heavy price for his short-sighted behaviour and political opportunism”. Now Wang’s German counterpart, Heiko Maas, has supported the Czechs, with a blistering attack on Beijing’s human rights record. He warned his Chinese guest: “Threats have no place here.”
It is difficult to recall such an open diplomatic clash between the EU and China, which are one another’s biggest trading partner. An official visit to Taiwan was bound to rile the Chinese, especially given their tactic of “wolf diplomacy”. Beijing has sworn to cut off relations with any country that maintains diplomatic ties with Taiwan.