The capital of the Czech Republic is canceling its sister city agreement with Beijing after disagreements about Prague’s relationship with Taiwan remained at an impasse.
On Oct. 4, Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib announced that the relationship would come to an end, as the Chinese government refused to discuss renegotiating a clause stating that Prague respects the One China Policy. The One China Policy refers to Beijing’s claim that Taiwan is a legal part of the communist People’s Republic of China, rather than being its own sovereign state.
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“At the moment, Beijing is not responding to our correspondence even after we have sent official reminders,” Hřib said.
Sister city ties with Beijing
Prague and Beijing established sister city ties in 2016, under the auspices of then-Prague mayor Adriana Krnáčová.
Taiwan is officially known as the Republic of China (ROC), but today is only diplomatically recognized by a handful of countries since it had its UN seat turned over to the PRC in the late 1970s.
The current Prague administration came into being with the election of Hřib, of the Czech Pirate Party, in 2018. They began asking Beijing for talks about renegotiating the clause this January, but without any result.
“The other side repeatedly declined our proposals to remove clause number three, ignoring our last message completely, and so no understanding has been reached about a possible revision of the text,” Hrib added in remarks to local media.
The Chinese government has responded to Prague’s decision to end the sister city relationship by canceling planned events between the two cities, including musical performances that have no official ties to the sister city program, as reported by expats.cz. The Chinese also lodged a complaint, saying that Prague’s vacations were damaging the Sino-Cezch relationship.
Prague continues to maintain sister city relationships with Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Taipei, which is the capital of the ROC.
Hřib made a visit to Taiwan in March, where he met with ROC President Tsai Ing-wen, as well as Taipei’s Mayor Ko Wen-je. The visit earned Hřib criticism from Beijing for his “pro-Taiwan stance,” as reported by Taiwan News.