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August 14, 2018 12:00 am | FILED UNDER: politics

MP’s Cancel Unofficial China Trip

By ČTK Milos Zeman Ye Jianming Xi

Prague, Aug 14 (CTK) – The cancellation of Czech lawmakers’ trip to China will perhaps not leave any stain on Czech-Chinese relations, Jan Birke (Social Democrats, CSSD), who was to head the delegation, told journalists today.

 

Birke said later today, he would meet representatives of the Czech embassy to apologise for the cancellation of the planned unofficial trip.

 

Since a number of its participants eventually refused to go, only three would remain.

 

“I will apologise decently. It would be not only indecent towards the hosts, but also nonsense, if only three people were to go,” Birke said.

 

He said depending on the developments, he would consider it whether to submit the planned journey again to the Chamber of Deputies organisational committee so that it could be held as an official trip.

 

The unofficial visit of nine Czech lawmakers from four parties to China was scheduled for late August.

 

The Chamber of Deputies’ organisational committee did not support the trip at its meeting in July, since it was not clear what its purpose is, what the delegates would do in China and based on what criteria the participants were chosen.

 

Birke has long-standing commercial relationships with China. Between 1993 and 1996, he worked as a manager of a U.S.-Chinese company focusing on the production and deliveries of strategic raw materials in China.

 

Birke said the deputy groups of ANO and the Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) had decided not to send their representatives to the delegation.

 

The server iRozhlas has said the deputies for the Civic Democratic Party (ODS) also refused to travel.

 

Birke said only three deputies remained. Along with him, these were Communists Hana Aulicka Jirovcova and Zdenek Ondracek.

 

Birke consulted acting foreign minister Jan Hamacek, the leader of the Social Democrats, on his steps. Birke said Hamacek had approved of his view.

 

“This was an unusual application and the committee refused to cover the [travel] expenses. If they go there and China finances it, it will be no routine foreign trip,” MP Jan Bartosek (opposition Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL) told the financial paper Hospodarske noviny (HN) on August 10.

 

“The delegation’s [trip] is not in the interest of the Czech Republic but of the People’s Republic of China,” said MP Jan Farsky (opposition Mayors and Independents, STAN).

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