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Recently passed away president of the Senate of the Czech Republic Jaroslav Kubera was supposed to go to Taiwan this year to an official visit.
According to the Czech media (for example, XXXI edition of Respekt magazine), it was important for Taiwan that some of the highly stated eastern politicians visit it.

By some people in the Czech Republic, it is perceived as opposition to the Czech president Miloš Zeman who frequently visits China.

My question is how important that can really be.
E.g. what can be the real effect of the visit?

And if it is a resonating theme in the Taiwan mainstream media or is only some bias in the Czech ones.

See also connected question: Was the death of the President of the Czech Senate a theme in the Taiwanese media?


EDIT (September 2020): Recent events may affect understanding of this question. The new president of the Czech Senate (Miloš Vystrčil) fulfilled plans of the late Jaroslav Kubera and actually visited Taiwan. The question remains the same, but it is now broadened to both of the mentioned presidents.

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  • Yeah kinda same if he were to go and visit Catalunya. In other words, no body would care. – dan-klasson Sep 4 '20 at 15:39
  • @dan-klasson: Foreign dignitaries visiting Taiwan are a sensitive topic for the government in Beijing. The Czech politician who took over from the late Kubera and travelled to Taiwan prompted Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi to threaten Czech Republic with "a heavy price" to pay. Apparently, he did care quite a bit. Of course, that doesn't necessarily imply that people in Taiwan do care. – O. R. Mapper Sep 4 '20 at 22:04
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Yes, it's definitely a significant event for a nation suffering many decades of diplomatic bullying in Asia. Even it might not be important as USA or JAPAN in geopolitics sense, it's still a remarkable diplomatic progress with EU countries for Taiwan.

More importantly, Vystrčil is the first foreign parliamentary speaker to give a speech at the Legislature in 45 years (news link). It's definitely an important approval for Taiwan's progress in democratic politics development.

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    "Diplomatic bullying". So please tell me, how many countries recognize Taiwan as an independent country? In fact, Taiwan recognize themselves as the rightful ruler of the whole of China. Including the claims in the South China sea, which most western countries disagree with. – dan-klasson Sep 4 '20 at 15:39
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    That might be an outdate understanding. The view of sovereign in Taiwan changes significantly after 30 years of democratic. Taiwan presents no threat to be a peaceful player by changing navy patrol to costal guard mainly dealing fishing issue with minimum weaponry. Taiwan no longer claim to have any new right of the territory not in current control and have no intention to use force to settle such issue other than peaceful means in defence nature. – YChi Lu Sep 4 '20 at 16:33
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    @dan-klasson The answerer said the opinion of Taiwanese. They think, since the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the United States, they have become "orphans of Asia." Many countries broke off diplomatic relations with ROC and established diplomatic relations with PRC. Until now, only 15 countries have diplomatic relationship with ROC. The visit of Vystrčil can may change it. The leaders of Taiwan hope more countries will be with them, like what did Czech do. – Clever TP Sep 12 '20 at 0:29
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I would like to add to the existing answers, and explain a bit more why this visit is perceived as being so significant, by considering the following two strategic goals of China:

Pursuing closer ties with Eastern Europe

China has been actively pursuing closer ties with Eastern Europe. There are economic and geopolitical reasons for them to do so, in particular, it is not in their interest for Europe to be firmly in the U.S.'s sphere of influence (in that regard their goals align closely with Russia's). Up until about 2018, the general trend was that they were succeeding. However, the economic rewards for countries like the Czech Republic somewhat failed to materialize, and relations have subsequently failed to blossom. For an Eastern European nation to undergo such a reversal is embarrassing, but for them to actively pursue relations with Taiwan is far too much for them to tolerate.

Increasing Taiwan's isolation

Even more significant is that the trend of continuing international isolation of Taiwan has recently stagnated, if not reached an inflection point. China is open about their long-term strategy to re-unification of their historical territory. Deng Xiaoping himself said:

Reunification of the motherland is the aspiration of the whole nation. If it cannot be accomplished in 100 years, it will be in 1,000 years.

China regards their political system as superior to the democratic systems in this regard, because they are, in principle, able to sustain diplomatic pressure over very long timescales. Democratic systems struggle to be so consistent, due to the ebb and flow of domestic politics. The COVID pandemic, and China's response to it, has if anything worsened this trend. No amount of time will allow their approach to succeed if the trend is going in the wrong direction. This also explains why they acted to forcibly take control of Hong Kong, and why they have significantly stepped up their military pressure on Taiwan.

Plenty of national leaders will go to extreme lengths to avoid the appearance of failure. In China's case, failure on issues of national rejuvenation is simply not an option.

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Need to know, why do some of leaders of the Czech Republic want to visit Taiwan.

In the mouths of Chinese official news media like "Cankao Xiaoxi" or "People's Daily", it's political manipulation by certain Czech politicians. China didn't attack Czech Government, but Vystrčil. They said, they will make he "pay a heavy price" for it.

Actually, not all Czech support or oppose Vystrčil's visit. There are always three opinions: support, oppose, no comments. Quoted by "Cankao Xiaoxi", the Czechs who support and oppose are half and half, and slightly more opposed.

The president, Miloš Zeman, is a leader of Party of Civic Rights, a centre-left party. Vystrčil's a member of Civic Democratic Party, centre-right to right-wing. So, they're enemies. And Zeman is pro-China, Vystrčil maybe will show that he isn't a pro-China to get more voters. Kubera was was a Czech Civic Democratic politician too, the same as Vystrčil. So, it's for the votes more.

Czech Republic-PRC and Czech Republic-ROC relationship are both note stable. Here's a table to show:

  • Václav Havel, president from 1993 to 2003, anti-China, "friend of Dalai Lama, supporter of Two-China";
  • Václav Klaus, president from 2003 to 2013, pro-China, "supporter of One-China";
  • Jan Fischer, prime minister from 2009 to 2010, pro-China;
  • Miloš Zeman, president from 2013, pro-China, visited China for five times;
  • Andrej Babiš, prime minister from 2017, anti-China, centre to centre-right, demanded China replace its ambassador for the threatening letter;
  • Leaders of City of Prague, anti-China, pro-Taipei. "supporter of Dalai Lama and ROC".

This table can confirm, Czech politicians have huge differences on the Taiwan issue. Pro-China, anti-China, both have many supporter. So, there are so many reasons to confirm they are just acting for the votes.

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  • I respectfully suggest to somehow replace the sentence "Czech politics is very complicated" in this otherwise quite well-written answer. The mere fact that different politicians/parties have a different stance on some topics does not make a country's politics "very complicated". – O. R. Mapper Sep 5 '20 at 17:11
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    Thanks for this post, but to be honest it 1. does not answer my question which is asking about the situation on Taiwan, not about the Czech Republic 2. has some questionable and even objectively false statements (e.g. Zeman is not leader of that party since 2010, Babiš is openly against Vystrčil's visit, the fact that there are different opinions doesn't necessarily imply that votes are the reason for the visit, etc.). – TGar Sep 6 '20 at 13:58
  • @O.R.Mapper Thanks. I'll edited my words. – Clever TP Sep 11 '20 at 15:30
  • I'm tempted to upvote this because it contains relevant information about internal Czech politics, but you have quotes without without saying who you are quoting. You have a quote saying Havel was a "supporter of Two-China", but was he really or was he a supporter of one-China one-Taiwan? I don't know and would like to learn more. At a minimum I would like to know your source so I have some idea whether it is biased. – Readin Jan 31 at 2:36

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