Czechs summon Chinese ambassador as Beijing plays hardball

By bne IntelliNews November 3, 2016

Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek has summoned the Chinese ambassador in Prague to a meeting, he announced on November 2.

The move extends the political scandal that exploded in late October, after the culture minister met the Dalai Lama. The episode is an illustration of how the petty provincial manoevuering that dominates the Czech political system can get so out of control that it allows relations with the world’s second largest economy to be put in jeopardy.

A grovelling letter from the Czech president and prime minister to Beijing in the wake of the meeting with the Tibetan spiritual leader appears to have been a wasted humiliation. President Milos Zeman, who alongside a posse of eastern-facing oligarchs has led an enthusiastic push to invite Chinese investment into the country, has since been accused of blackmailing the culture minister by refusing an award to his uncle, a holocaust survivor.

Yet that appears to have been to no avail. China, well known for its thin skin, hardball tactics, and enthusiasm to link diplomacy and economics, cancelled scheduled meetings of Beijing officials with Czech Minister of Agriculture Marian Jurecka late on November 1.

Zaoralek, from coalition leader CSSD, had earlier accused Culture Minister Daniel Herman of reneging on an agreement to not meet officially with the Dalai Lama. Jurecka is a fellow member of the Christian Democrats, the junior partner in the three party coalition.

Analysts note that the provincial backbiting that passes for Czech politics is damaging the country’s international relations. Czech foreign policy has been confused since Zeman was elected in 2013, who has pursued a line at variance with the foreign ministry.

"Zeman’s steps towards China have greatly politicized Czech foreign policy. The China agenda has effectively been hijacked by the growing conflict between Zeman and his opponents, making Czech policy towards the PRC a mere function of an internal political struggle," Ivana Karaskova of the Association for International Affairs wrote. "Sadly, right at the moment when the Chinese role in global affairs is growing, there is no serious political talk about a comprehensive strategy towards Beijing."

Related Articles

Czech economy loses momentum in fourth quarter

Czech GDP growth disappointed in the final quarter of 2016 as it slowed to 1.7% y/y, flash data released by the statistics office on February 14 showed. The reading was below expectations for ... more

Czech National Bank forced to boost interventions in December

The Czech National Bank (CNB) was forced to hike its activity on the currency market to maintain its cap on the koruna in December, data released on February 7 showed. Meanwhile, international ... more

Czech foreign ministry reports hacking attack

The Czech foreign ministry announced on January 31 that it suspects a state actor was behind a hack of dozens of email accounts that lasted for several months. Hackers downloaded data from ... more

Register here to continue reading this article and 2 more for free or purchase 12 months full website access including the bne Magazine for just $119/year.

Already a subscriber or registered - click here to recover access.

If you a IntelliNews Pro user - click here to login.

Thank you. Please complete your registration by confirming your email address.
A confirmation email has been sent to the email address you provided.

To continue viewing our content you need to complete the registration process.

Please look for an email that was sent to with the subject line "Confirmation bne IntelliNews access". This email will have instructions on how to complete registration process. Please check in your "Junk" folder in case this communication was misdirected in your email system.

Already a subscriber or registered - click here to recover access.

If you a IntelliNews Pro user - click here to login.

If you have any questions please contact us at sales@intellinews.com

Subscribe to bne IntelliNews website and magazine

Subscribe to bne IntelliNews website and monthly magazine, the leading source of business, economic and financial news and commentary in emerging markets.

Your subscription includes:
  • Full access to the bne content daily news and features on the website
  • Newsletters direct to your mailbox
  • Print and digital subscription to the monthly bne magazine
  • Digital subscription to the weekly bne newspaper

Already a subscriber or registered - click here to recover access.

If you a IntelliNews Pro user - click here to login.

bne IntelliNews
$119 per year

All prices are in US dollars net of applicable taxes.

If you have any questions please contact us at sales@intellinews.com

Register for free to read bne IntelliNews Magazine. You'll receive a free digital subscription.

Already a subscriber or registered - click here to recover access.

If you a IntelliNews Pro user - click here to login.

Thank you. Please complete your registration by confirming your email address.
A confirmation email has been sent to the email address you provided.

IntelliNews Pro offers daily news updates delivered to your inbox and in-depth data reports.
Get the emerging markets newswire that financial professionals trust.

"No day starts for my team without IntelliNews Pro" — UBS

Thank-you for requesting an IntelliNews Pro trial. Our team will be in contact with you shortly.

Dismiss