Petříček says he understands Zeman’s hesitation over China summit

19-01-2020

The Czech minister of foreign affairs, Tomáš Petříček, says he understands President Miloš Zeman’s hesitation over whether to attend a “17+1” summit being held by China in April. Speaking on Czech Television on Sunday, Mr. Petříček said it was necessary to make clear to Beijing that the Czech Republic’s expectations with regard to mutual trade had not been met.

Last week Mr. Zeman, who had long pushed for closer ties with Beijing, said he would not attend this year’s edition of the summit bringing together China and Central and Eastern European states and that the country would be represented by deputy PM Jan Hamáček instead. The president told the newspaper Blesk that China had not delivered on its promises to invest in the Czech Republic.

However, a close associate of Mr. Zeman said later that the head of state might consider going if the China side were willing to sign deals with Czech entrepreneurs on specific projects.