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Prague mayor to visit Taiwan

2019/03/09 21:14:38

Taipei and Prague, March 9 (CNA) Prague Mayor Zdenek Hrib is scheduled to lead a delegation to Taiwan later this month to attend a smart city forum in Taipei, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said Saturday.

During his visit, Hrib also plans to learn about the development of smart medical care, transportation and energy in Taiwan, as well as promote bilateral cooperation and exchange, MOFA said.

Hrib, 37, is a member of the Czech Pirate Party and has been mayor of Prague since the municipal election held in November last year.

The mayor found himself in the spotlight in January after he criticized a clause in the Partnership Agreement signed by Prague and Beijing in 2016, which requires the European city adhere to a "one China" policy and acknowledge that Taiwan is an inalienable part of Chinese territory.

In a recent interview with CNA, Hrib said the inclusion of Article 3 was a "mistake" and that he will seek to negotiate with Beijing to remove the clause, adding that if that fails he would rather terminate the sisterhood agreement between the two cities.

Meanwhile, the mayor said he is a "fan of Taiwan" and often reminisces about the time he spent in the country.

Hrib studied medicine at Charles University in Prague and was part of a student exchange program with Taiwan.

"I felt like I was at home when I was in Taiwan," he said.

MOFA spokesman Andrew Lee (李憲章) told CNA the foreign ministry welcomed the visit by Hrib and his delegation.

Asked about the mayor's recent comments on the agreement with Beijing, Lee said the ministry has always believed that exchanges between cities around the world should not be bound by political preconditions, nor should anyone be forced to accept an agreement for political purposes.

According to MOFA, Hrib is scheduled to attend the Smart City Summit & Expo (SCSE) at Taipei Nangang Exhibition Center from March 26-29.

(By Elaine Hou, Lin Yu-li and Ko Lin)
Enditem/AW