Czech and Chinese officials have signed a joint proclamation on resetting relations and boosting trade. The two sides say they respect the paths of development they have chosen, will not interfere in each other’s internal affairs and will create favourable conditions to promote trade and investments. The statement, signed in the course of Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek’s three-day visit to Beijing, also states that the Czech Republic respects the territorial integrity of the People’s Republic of China and does not support the independence of Tibet. The government’s stance, driven by the need to diversify the country’s business interests and reduce its export dependence on the EU, has come under fire from human rights activists. The Czech Foreign Ministry counters that Prague is only adopting the EU’s common policy line towards Beijing and has emphasized that the joint proclamation contains a passage about respect for human rights.
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