Prague City Council has decided to cancel its sister-city relationship with Beijing over the latter’s unwillingness to re-negotiate wording relating to Beijing’s ”One China Policy” in the partnership agreement.
Beijing and Prague established sister-city relations only recently in 2016 under the previous mayor Adriana Krnáčová, after Xi Jinping made a visit to the city.
Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib has shown strong support for Taiwan and began calling for Beijing to remove the “One China” language from the agreement back in January. Hrib made a visit to Taiwan in March, and has come under fire from Beijing for his “pro-Taiwan stance.”
In Taiwan, Prague also has a sister-city relationship with Taipei. Hrib says that China has all but closed down communications on the issue, which has led the city to its current decision.
“The other side repeatedly declined our proposals to remove clause number three, ignoring our last message completely, and so no understanding has been reached about a possible revision of the text.”
In response to the news, China has already begun canceling various cultural events and tours planned between the cities, with the Prague Philharmonic’s planned tour of China an example. In addition to Beijing, Prague also maintains sister-city relations with Guangzhou and Shanghai.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček say that while the government respects the “One China” policy it cannot dictate anything to the democratically elected Prague leadership.