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Czech Republic Opens Probe Into Chinese Diplomat Accused Of Tailing Taiwanese Vice President-Elect

12:46 PM Apr 07, 2024 IST | 8PM News Desk
czech republic opens probe into chinese diplomat accused of tailing taiwanese vice president elect
Czech Republic opens probe into Chinese diplomat accused of tailing Taiwanese Vice President-elect

Taipei [Taiwan] : The Czech Republic government initiated an investigation into an alleged incident concerning a Chinese embassy staff member accused of tailing Taiwan's Vice President-elect Hsiao Bi-khim in the Czech capital, Prague, during her March visit to the country, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) in the country stated on Saturday, Focus Taiwan reported.

Hsiao will become Taiwan's next vice president in May and visit the Czech Republic in March.

Hsiao, 52, has served as Taiwan's top representative to the US since July 2020 until she resigned from the post to become Lai Ching-te's running mate in November 2023 for the January 13 presidential race, as per Focus Taiwan.

"The Czech side made the remarks after Taiwan asked its representative office in Prague to contact Czech Republic authorities in the wake of a report by the Prague-based news site Seznam Zpravy on Friday alleging a Chinese diplomat was stopped by police while following Hsiao's motorcade in Prague last month," MOFA said in a statement.

"Hsiao visited the Central European country from March 17-19 at the invitation of the Prague-based think tank, Sinopsis, to speak at a seminar," it added.

According to Focus Taiwan, the Czech authorities were responsible for Hsiao's security during her three-day trip.

In a social media post in English on April 5, Jakub Janda, the head of the Czech-based think tank European Values Centre for Security Policy, referenced a report by Seznam Zpravy.

The report indicated that during Vice President-elect Hsiao Bi-khim's motorcade from Prague airport to the city centre, a vehicle was discovered tailing her.

"Czech Police Protective Service stopped this car and found out it was driven by a Chinese diplomat from the military section of the Chinese Embassy in Prague," Janda said, adding that the "Chinese governmental surveillance" continued until Hsiao arrived at her hotel in Prague.

After the incident, the Czech Foreign Ministry summoned Chinese Ambassador Feng Biao. Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky expressed dissatisfaction with Feng's explanation of the matter, and his ministry "does not consider this issue to be closed," Janda quoted as saying by Seznam Zpravy.

A Czech government source told Janda that it was considering declaring the Chinese diplomat persona non grata.

In the same report, Czech Senator Pavel Fischer, chair of the Foreign Affairs, Defence, and Security Committee, said the said Chinese diplomat's alleged behaviour was 'like a gangster'.

Citing the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, the senator asserted that the Chinese diplomat could be expelled, adding that the Czech Republic should consider it. Thus far, the Chinese foreign ministry and its embassy in Prague have not responded to the allegation against one of its diplomats.

In Taipei, lawmakers from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), of which Hsiao is a member, condemned Beijing for the incident, describing it as another instance of 'wolf warrior diplomacy' directed towards Taiwan, despite Hsiao maintaining a low-key presence throughout her visit to the Czech Republic.

DPP legislative caucus secretary-general Wu Szu-yao urged Beijing to immediately halt its coercive diplomatic approach, while calling on democratic allies worldwide to jointly condemn China over the latest incident.

Wu called on the Taiwanese government to provide enhanced security to its senior officials during overseas trips to ensure similar incidents don't happen again.

According to MOFA, aside from the Czech Republic, Hsiao also visited Poland, Lithuania, and the European Parliament last month, where she met with Taiwan-friendly European parliamentarians.

Before her visit to Europe, Hsiao travelled to the US on a personal trip, MOFA added.

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