U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Prague called upon the young democracies of Central and Eastern Europe to embrace their hard-won freedoms as they face threats from Russia and China.
He told lawmakers at the Czech Senate on Wednesday that they are right to resist Chinese attempts to assert economic and political leverage over them for supporting Taiwan, noting several recent examples.
Pompeo said that Russia threatens Czechia’s democracy and security through disinformation campaigns and cyberattacks. “It’s even trying to rewrite your history,” he added.
However, the threat “posed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its campaigns of coercion and control” is greater, Pompeo said.
In the Czechia, formerly known as the Czech Republic, the CCP influences politicians and security forces, steals Czech “industrial data created through innovation and creativity,” and stifles freedom, Pompeo said.
After Prague, the Czech Republic’s capital, ended its sister city relationship with Beijing because of pressure by the CCP to add a “one China” provision to the partnership agreement one year ago, it established a sister city partnership with Taipei, reported Taiwan News.
In retaliation, the Chinese regime canceled a Prague philharmonia’s trip to Beijing, and Shanghai canceled its cooperation with Prague, Pompeo noted.
Beijing considers Taiwan a province of China with no right to state-to-state relations.
Pompeo also quoted the letter sent by the Chinese embassy in Prague to former Czech Senate speaker Jaroslav Kubera, which threatened that “Czech enterprises with economic interests in China will have to pay” if Kubera visited Taiwan.
In June, Milos Vystrcil, the speaker of the Czech Senate, officially announced his plans to travel to Taiwan with a trade mission at the end of August, despite strong opposition from Chinese communist officials and some Czech leaders.
Vistrcil will be the highest-level Czech politician to have ever visited Taiwan, according to Taiwan News.
Pompeo said that the Senate speaker will make that trip to Taiwan as he planned “fulfilling the wishes of his late predecessor.”
And on Aug. 11, Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib announced on Facebook that he would join Vystricil to visit Taiwan.
Countering the CCP Threat
“The [Chinese] regime has a Marxist-Leninist core no less than the Soviet Union did, and indeed, perhaps more so,” Pompeo said.
“What’s happening now isn’t Cold War 2.0. The challenge of resisting the CCP threat is in some ways much more difficult. That’s because the CCP is already enmeshed in our economies, in our politics, in our societies in ways the Soviet Union never was. And Beijing is not likely to change course in the near future,” said Pompeo.
Pompeo noted that Europe has started to recognize the CCP threat, adding that “there are plenty of European leaders eager to lean into freedom.” He assured Czechs that the United States will support the Czech Republic on its quest for freedom.
“And remember too that today, tomorrow, and forever, America will be with you as we champion those precious human rights and freedoms,” he said.
Expanding American-Czech Economic Cooperation
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis said on Wednesday that both countries can also cooperate in science and development as Czech scientists have world-class achievements in various fields of research.
For example, Martin Tolar, CEO of Massachusetts-based Alzheon, is one of the pioneers in researching drugs to cure Alzheimer’s disease, Babis said at a joint press conference after meeting with Pompeo.
Babis criticized China for not investing the way the European country had expected. Trade with China is unbalanced and the Czech Republic needs to examine why it’s not successful enough, he said.
On the other side, U.S. investment “is enormous,” noting that about 2,500 U.S. investors in the country “gave jobs to more than 55,000 people here,” Babis said.
Pompeo met earlier on Wednesday with a group of startup leaders, saying at the Czech Senate: “their nimble enterprises—once unthinkable under Soviet commissars—are bringing value to both the United States and the Czech economies.”
Pompeo commended the Czech Republic’s decision to modernize its military by buying American equipment to “replace Soviet-era defense equipment and reduce dependence on Russian gear.”
He also warned the country that “partnering with Russian and Chinese state-owned companies” to build a new reactor for its Dukovany Nuclear Power Plant “will, in fact, undermine the Czech Republic’s national sovereignty.”
America’s private sector can provide for Czechs an opportunity to get energy at a reasonable price, distributed according to the Czech national interest, and based on the western business model that upholds the rule of law, property rights, and contracts are transparent, Pompeo said.
The Czech state-owned utility company CEZ will build a new unit at the Dukovany nuclear plant to replace Czechia’s aging coal and nuclear plants, according to Reuters.
Russian, Chinese, French, and South Korean companies, U.S. group Westinghouse, and a French-Japanese joint venture are expected to participate in a CEZ tender to build the new unit.
Pompeo also praised the nation for leading the international 5G security initiative to eliminate untrusted vendors from national 5G networks thus preventing the CCP from infiltrating them.
Last year, the Czech Republic hosted a conference where more than 30 countries developed the Prague Proposals, a set of recommendations and principles for countries to design, develop, and maintain secure 5G networks.
Babis announced that the next 5G security conference will take place in September and has invited Pompeo to attend.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
From The Epoch Times