Taiwan's vice president-elect and former de facto ambassador to Washington, Hsiao Bi-khim. EPA-EFE/RITCHIE B. TONGO


Taiwan’s vice president-elect makes Czech visit, angering China


Taiwan’s vice president-elect and former de facto ambassador to Washington, Hsiao Bi-khim, is on a visit to the Czech Republic following a low-key trip to the United States, the foreign ministry said on Tuesday, triggering anger from China.

Hsiao, who takes office with president-elect Lai Ching-te in May, is detested by China which calls her a “diehard Taiwan independence separatist” and has placed sanctions on her.

China claims democratically governed Taiwan as its own territory, a view the government in Taipei strongly rejects.

Taiwan Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jeff Liu said Hsiao had been invited to the Czech Republic by the Sinopsis think-tank and will speak to them, as well as meet other “friends” in the country to exchange views ahead of her inauguration.

Czech Senate speaker Milos Vystrcil, who visited Taiwan in 2020, on Tuesday posted a picture on his X social media page of him meeting and chatting with Hsiao.

In Beijing, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Lin Jian said the Czech government should “severely restrain certain (Czech) politicians” and “take effective measures to remove the negative influence of this incident”.

Taiwan has no formal diplomatic ties with any European country except the Vatican.

But Central and Eastern European countries have been particularly keen to show support for Taiwan – especially following Russia’s attack on Ukraine – defying Beijing’s anger about such contacts and lessening Taiwan’s international diplomatic isolation.

China expressed anger last week about Hsiao’s U.S. trip, on what both Taiwan and the United States termed a private visit.