A prominent Czech politician will face retribution for visiting Taiwan, the Chinese foreign minister has said.

Milos Vystrcil, the Czech Republic's senate speaker, began his trip to Taiwan on August 30. The next day, China's Foreign Minister and State Councilor Wang Yi warned that this act would not go unpunished. The incident has been covered by mainland Chinese media, such as Global Times, and Western media, such as Reuters.

According to Global Times and Reuters, the Chinese foreign minister called the trip a "provocation" and said Vystrcil would "pay a heavy price" for disregarding the one-China principle.

Reuters quoted the foreign minister as accusing Vystrcil of "short-sighted behavior and political opportunism." The foreign minister made his remarks during a trip to Germany, but, according to Reuters, he did not explain what the "price" would be. Vystrcil denied ever intending to "politically confront anyone," Reuters said.

Czech President Opposed Trip to Taiwan

The President of the Czech Republic, Milos Zeman, had opposed Vystrcil's decision to Travel to Taiwan, Global Times noted. Reuters recalled that Zeman had been trying to improve ties with China since he took office in 2013. The Chinese Embassy in Prague had also spoken out against the trip, Global Times said.

Remarks 'Crossed the Line'

Although Czech Foreign Minister Tomas Petricek had distanced himself from the trip to Taiwan, he objected to the Chinese foreign minister's language when speaking of a "heavy price" to be paid, Reuters said. Reuters quoted a post by Petricek on Twitter as saying that "such strong words" had no place in diplomatic relations between independent countries and that the words of Petricek's Chinese counterpart had "crossed the line." The Chinese ambassador in Prague was summoned by the Foreign Ministry to explain those comments, Reuters said.

Trade and Human Rights

Global Times pointed out that Vystrcil went to Taiwan as the leader of a delegation of almost 90 political and business leaders for a 6-day trip, which had been described as "a trade mission." Vystrcil appeared at a meeting of businesspeople with Taiwan's Minister of Economics Wang Mei-Hua, who stressed that the Czech Republic and Taiwan were "free and democratic" nations that valued human rights, Reuters said.

Reuters also noted that the Czech president's efforts to improve mainland China's economic relations had been marred by unsuccessful plans for investment and the Czech government's indecisiveness regarding Huawei Technologies and the country's telecom networks.

The One-China Principle

Global Times reiterated Beijing's one-China principle, stressing "there is only one China... and Taiwan is part of China." The newspaper said the Czech senate speaker was displaying a disregard for "mainstream Czech, public opinion."

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