According to an April 21 article by Bloomberg, the Czech Republic warned that Beijing’s support for Russia could harm the interaction between the European Union (EU) and China.

Czech Deputy Foreign Minister Martin Tlapa met with China’s Special Representative for Central and Eastern Europe, Huo Yuzhen, in Prague this week. They discussed China’s 16 plus 1 format for its Belt and Road Initiative in Europe.

But cooperation comes with conditions, as Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Lenka Do said, “We used the meeting to express again our reservations to current Chinese cooperation with Russia.”

As Do noted, the Czech told China that “any kind of Chinese support of Russia will hurt its relation with the EU.”

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng pledged to keep deepening the strategic relationship with Moscow on April 18.

The mouthpiece of the Chinese government, Global Times reported that the meeting in Prague this week is to further promote China-CEEC (Central and Eastern European Countries) cooperation and dismiss misunderstandings, especially over Beijing’s stance on the Russia-Ukraine war.

CEEC, once under Moscow’s influence, is now pushing more action to counter Russia’s expansionist policies.

For years, China has been attempting to strengthen its position in Europe through investment and diplomacy, including via China’s 16 plus 1 format.

However, relations with EU countries, such as the Czech Republic, Lithuania, and Estonia, have eroded significantly. The worsening ties result from issues such as Taiwan’s recognition, the use of 5G technology, and allegations of human rights violations in China’s Xinjiang region.

The Czech administration, which came to office in December, has favored closer ties with Taiwan, whereas Beijing opposes nations conducting bilateral relations with the self-governed island.

The Czech government will take over the EU’s rotating presidency in the second half of this year.

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