Purple for China? So it’s not like sabotage… Professor Trulak would appreciate the twist in relations, but he doesn’t believe much.

24/11/2023 20:19 | Conversation

“If unofficial talk of Fiala’s trip to China started at this point, I would be a little worried that it might not be ready and that it might be a sabotage,” says Peter Trulock, a former associate professor of international relations. Foreign Minister. While the Ministry of External Affairs remains silent, apparently, the government office is preparing the event. The recent scandal over the cancellation of Fiala’s visit to Nigeria speaks well of the relationship between the two offices.

Purple for China?  So it's not like sabotage... Professor Trulak would appreciate the twist in relations, but he doesn't believe much.

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Description: Professor Peter Trulock

The media reports that Fial’s government has turned around and wants to resume relations with China. But first they did the opposite for a long time. Harsh words, rejection of all Chinese, warning of security threat, enemy, etc. What to say about all this?

The truth is that this government has so far done everything to undermine Czech-Chinese relations. On the one hand, it was rhetoric, which is constantly defined against the People’s Republic of China, but it was also about practical actions. One of them, for example, was the closing of the embassy in Chengdu, Sichuan, an important economic center of contemporary China. Then the visit to Taiwan and emphasized that the real partner for us in East Asia, even in the economic field, should be the democracies. Again, it was aimed at China. The policy of the Czech government has been very consistent in this regard, and they have done so in a consistent and coordinated manner.

Now comes news that the Czech government wants to try the opposite, an interesting attempt at a realistic turn in Czech foreign policy. But this government is not sure if it can do it. It is not known how China will respond to this. For now, the Czech government seems unconcerned about the design of Chinese cooperation with the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, simply called 14 + 1, where, among other things, regular meetings of prime ministers take place. The government of the Czech Republic stopped participating in it, and now a realistic turn is indicated.


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Will the PRC trust us with this twist?

It is clear that China will need some reassurance that the Czech Republic is serious about Czech-Chinese relations. So far, she’s heard things from Prague that haven’t mentioned this. I wonder what Prime Minister Fiala will do and how he will try to reassure his Chinese counterparts that he is not just going there for a visit, but that the previous destructive policy is being reassessed. I haven’t seen it yet.

It is a matter of fact that Bojar was a consultant in Beijing. But consider the role of the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs in this matter, which was apparently zero. This visit was prepared by the Government Office of the Czech Republic. Under the current leadership, the Ministry of External Affairs can hardly be expected to produce something like this. I welcome a realistic turnaround for China, but I don’t believe the current package is capable of this.

Meanwhile in TOP 09:

Tomáš Pojar, the government adviser on national security, was in Beijing with the head of civilian intelligence and they held talks with key official Wang I, the foreign minister. He accepted a delegation headed by a person of lower status than himself. Can’t you feel this because the Chinese put so much emphasis on it?

Wang Nan is not just the foreign minister, he is more; There is also an important party function. The question is what is the purpose of that meeting? It could be intelligence questions, useful exchange of information for both sides. From this perspective, states that normally do not maintain diplomatic relations with each other occasionally meet at high levels to exchange necessary and important information. In our country, the trip was not publicized by government communications, the media reported on it only based on the report of the Chinese state agency. So it’s hard to say what it’s about. This does not necessarily mean any improvement in mutual relations.

Why do you think so?

Take a specific example from the past. When Henry Kissinger was preparing a major trip to China in the 1970s, no one knew until the last minute. If there is unofficial talk of Fiala’s trip to China at this point, I’d be a little worried that it’s not ready and might be a spoiler.

Vandalism in what sense?

I don’t want to think in a conspiratorial way, but just so that it doesn’t become like the visit of Nigeria Prime Minister Fiala. So it is said that it is going to happen, and eventually the media is given some excuse as to why it won’t happen. The whole is surrounded by fog.

Could it be explained that when the Czech government sees a more friendly approach to China from the US, it has decided to follow a similar path?

Perhaps the government should not even be suspected of thinking this way. Not to mention that US-China talks are not completely cut off. Various mutual visits take place there all the time. Perhaps it was not always at the level of some ministers or other high officials, but it was never completely stopped. If the government looks down on Washington in this way, they can’t disrupt each other’s dialogue the way they did before. It seems to me that Fiel’s government is very far removed from what Washington is doing in this regard, which is maintaining a constant dialogue with China. Yes, sometimes hot, sometimes cold… but nothing like that could be done.

For me, the Czech policy towards China and the possible turnaround is dominated by question marks, because it is in direct contrast to what they have been doing so far. The turning point will be right, and as I have already mentioned I welcome it. It’s definitely worth a close look. And let’s see what they come up with.


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