BEIJING / TAIPEI, Oct.21 (Reuters) – China expressed anger on Thursday after Taiwan announced Foreign Minister Joseph Wu would visit Slovakia next week on a rare trip to Europe that will also include travel in the neighboring Czech Republic and a virtual address to a forum in Rome.
Taiwan, claimed by China as its own territory, has no formal diplomatic relations with any European country except Vatican City, but has been keen to promote ties with other democracies in the European Union. sharing the same ideas.
The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Lithuania have all donated COVID-19 vaccines to Taiwan, and Lithuania and Taiwan are set to open de facto embassies in their respective capitals before the end of the year, to anger from Beijing.
Taiwanese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou told reporters Wu would first attend a forum in Slovakia hosted by a local think tank on Tuesday, then travel to Prague to meet with the chamber speaker. senior member of the Czech parliament, Milos Vystrcil, and the mayor of Prague Zdenek Hrib.
Vystrcil and Hrib visited Taiwan last year, infuriating China. Wu’s Czech visit had already been confirmed, but not his trip to Slovakia.
Wu will also “be thinking of a way” to speak virtually at the IPA summit on China in Rome next Friday, Ou added, an event attended by Penpa Tsering, head of the Tibetan government in exile, and other people disagree with Beijing.
“We will seek the support of the international community more actively and hope to strengthen relations between Taiwan and the democratic countries of central and eastern Europe,” Ou said.
Speaking in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin expressed “strong displeasure” that the two countries allow the visit to take place, and urged them not to “undermine the political foundation of the relationship. bilateral “.
Due to Chinese pressure, many countries are unwilling to host Taiwanese senior ministers, although Wu visited Denmark in 2019 to speak at the Copenhagen Democracy Summit.
China has stepped up military and diplomatic pressure against Taiwan to force it to accept Chinese sovereignty.
Democratically ruled Taiwan says it is an independent country and will defend its freedom.
Report by Ben Blanchard; Additional reporting by Gabriel Crossley in Beijing; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore
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