China warns Prague mayor not to undermine Czech-Chinese relations

18-07-2019 updated

China has asked the Mayor of Prague Zdeněk Hřib and the city’s leadership not to interfere in Czech-Chinese relations, China’s state-run press agency Xinhua reported. It cited the spokesman of the Chinese Foreign Ministry Geng Shuang, who said that the “Prague government and mayor have for some time behaved very badly on issues involving China's national sovereignty and core interests, including issues related to Taiwan and Tibet”.

The spokesman did not specify his objections further, but it seems he was reacting to an earlier statement by Mr. Hřib on the sister-city agreement, which the former Prague leadership signed with Bejing. The current Prague City Council wants to revise the agreement and scrap the part which says Prague recognizes a single China.

Czech Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček said in response to the news that he would invite the Chinese ambassador to Prague to discuss the matter. Politics should not interfere in cultural cooperation, the Czech foreign minister wrote on Twitter.