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Taiwanese delegation in Prague to boost ties; China protests

October 25, 2021 GMT
The minister of national development Kung Ming-hsin addresses media during a press conference in Prague, Czech Republic, Monday, Oct. 25, 2021. Taiwan's government ministers have visited the Czech capital accompanied by dozens of business and research representatives to boost trade and investment, a move that angers China. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
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The minister of national development Kung Ming-hsin addresses media during a press conference in Prague, Czech Republic, Monday, Oct. 25, 2021. Taiwan's government ministers have visited the Czech capital accompanied by dozens of business and research representatives to boost trade and investment, a move that angers China. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
1 of 3
The minister of national development Kung Ming-hsin addresses media during a press conference in Prague, Czech Republic, Monday, Oct. 25, 2021. Taiwan's government ministers have visited the Czech capital accompanied by dozens of business and research representatives to boost trade and investment, a move that angers China. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

PRAGUE (AP) — Taiwanese government ministers were visiting the Czech capital on Monday accompanied by dozens of business and research representatives to boost trade and investment, a move that has angered China.

Minister of National Development Kung Ming-hsin is leading a delegation of 66 officials representing business and research groups and organizations, including biotechnology, green energy, information technology, machinery and tourism.

Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu will visit later in the week.

China has protested, threatening unspecified retaliatory steps.

Taiwan relies on such exchanges to counter China’s efforts to isolate the self-governing island that Beijing claims as its own territory, to be annexed by military force if it deems necessary.

The Czech Republic, like most countries, has no formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan, but maintains robust informal contacts. Taiwan’s high-tech companies are also significant investors in the Czech Republic.

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The ties between Prague and Taipei were boosted by last year’s trip to Taiwan by the speaker of the Czech parliament’s upper house, the Senate, Milos Vystrcil. He was accompanied by more than 80 representatives from government, business and academia, drawing strong criticism from China.

Vystrcil and other senior officials in the Senate, together with representatives of government business and tourist agencies and business groups, are scheduled to meet the members of the Taiwanese delegation.

During the pandemic, Taiwan sent the Czech Republic equipment to make quality face masks while the Czechs donated coronavirus vaccines to Taiwan.

The delegation is also visiting two other European Union countries, Slovakia and Lithuania.