‘I Am Taiwanese,’ Proclaims Czech Speaker, Seemingly Channeling John F. Kennedy In Berlin

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Varun Hukeri General Assignment & Analysis Reporter
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Czech Senate speaker Miloš Vystrčil declared himself Taiwanese in a speech at Taiwan’s parliament Tuesday, channeling former President John F. Kennedy’s “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech in 1963.

“Please let me also express in person my support to Taiwan and the ultimate value of freedom and conclude today’s speech … with perhaps a more humble, but equally strong statement: ‘I am Taiwanese,'” Vystrčil said to a standing ovation.


Vystrčil also praised Kennedy’s 1963 speech in West Berlin as an important message against communism, Reuters reported. He added that his visit to Taiwan was part of his support for the “values-based” foreign policy of Czechia’s first president Václav Havel, who was himself an anti-communist dissident in the former Czechoslovakia.

The Czech government did not formally support Vystrčil’s visit as the country does not have formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan, according to Reuters.

Beijing reportedly summoned Czech ambassador Vladimír Tomšík, according to China’s state-backed Global Times. Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying slammed Vystrčil and accused him of trying to “sabotage China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity” in a tweet Tuesday.

China’s State Councillor Wang Yi denounced the speech as “a public affront” to China’s sovereignty, Reuters reported. “You have crossed the red line,” Wang said Tuesday while on a diplomatic visit to Berlin. (RELATED: Trump Administration Meets With Taiwan’s President Despite Objections From China)

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian also condemned Vystrčil’s visit to Taiwan during a press conference Monday. “Your acts cannot alter the fact that Taiwan is an inalienable part of China, and your attempts of political manipulation and ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist activities will never succeed,” he said.

Czech President Miloš Zeman has attempted to strengthen economic and political ties with China since taking office in 2013 but his efforts have largely failed due to unsuccessful foreign investment plans, according to Reuters.