Beijing has issued an angry rebuke against the Czech Republic over an official visit by the Speaker of the Czech Senate, to Taiwan.
China sees the island of Taiwan, which is governed by a democratically elected government, as a part of China itself. The island was ceded to Japan in 1895, was then occupied by China after WW2. In 1949, following victory of the communists in the Chinese civil war, the Chinese government fled to Taiwan and established itself there, whilst the communist government of established the People's Republic of China on the mainland.
Vystrcil arrived in Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, on Sunday with a delegation of 90 people including the mayor of Prague. During the visit he is expected to deliver a speech to the Tai parliament and to visit the Tai President The trip is designed to promote business links between the Czech Republic and Taiwan, which China tries to isolate on the world stage.
Top Chinese diplomat Wang Yi has called the visit a "provocation" and said Czech senate speaker Milos Vystrcil would "pay a heavy price" for violating the so-called "One China" principle by making an official visit to Taiwan.
Vystrcil responded by saying that the Czech Republic will not bow to Beijing. His visit follows the high-profile visit of US Health Secretary, Alez Azar two weeks ago.
Beijing has recently ramped up its military activity in the South China Sea, conducted threatening manoeuvres towards Taiwan, initiated military clashes against Indian forces in a disputed border area in Kashmir, has increased its 'soft-power' projection into Africa, and sentenced 4 Canadian citizens to death in what is widely seen as a retaliatory move in response to Canada arresting the daughter of the founder of the Chinese tech company, Huawei.