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Incoming Czech President Pavel speaks with Taiwan's leader

January 30, 2023

The Czech President-elect Petr Pavel said his country shares "the values of freedom, democracy, and human rights" with Taiwan and pledged to boost the ties with the island.

Petr Pavel
Czech president-elect Petr PavelImage: Petr David Josek/AP Photo/picture alliance

Petr Pavel, who this weekend defeated billionaire Andrej Babis to become the Czech Republic's next president, held a congratulatory call with Taiwanese leader Tsai Ing-wen on Monday.

After the call, Pavel vowed to boost his Central European country's ties with the contested island that China claims as part of its territory.

On Twitter, Pavel "thanked [Tsai] for her congratulations." 

He added, "I assured her that Taiwan and the Czech Republic share the values of freedom, democracy, and human rights."

What did the two leaders discuss?

Pavel, a former general who chaired the NATO military committee from 2015 until 2018, said he and Tsai "agreed on strengthening our partnership."

He said he "expressed hope to have the opportunity to meet President Tsai in person in the future."

Taiwan's presidential office said the call lasted approximately 15 minutes. The foreign minister, Joseph Wu, was also on the call.

Why is the call important?

In a statement, Tsai's office said, "President-elect Pavel carries on the spirit of former Czech president [Vaclav] Havel who respected democracy, freedom and human rights, under which the republic was founded, and is like-minded with Taiwan."

Beijing is keen to isolate Taipei and prevent international recognition for the island, which it considers to be a renegade province.

Pavel is to replace Milos Zeman, viewed as pro-Russian and pro-Chinese.

ar/dj (AFP, Reuters)