Final Word from Monday, January 7, 2019



Things have changed dramatically since the CR signed a bilateral memorandum with China on Nov. 5, 2016, regarding the Belt and Road Initiative. The BRI memorandum calls for broad exchanges in the area of information and communications technology, but there are now increasing doubts about whether these exchanges are always fair and aboveboard and will be so in the future. In addition, Bohuslav Sobotka is no longer the Czech PM, and PPF is no longer so directly guiding Czech policy toward China. PPF's own nonpublic memorandum with Huawei raises questions about whose side it is on. The Czech cabinet will address the warning today of the NÚKIB cybersecurity office about Huawei and ZTE, and on the eve of this Andrej Babiš accused Chinese Amb. Zhang Jianmin of publicly lying about their recent meeting. Christopher Balding wrote in Foreign Affairs in Oct. that China's big bet on soft power, the Belt and Road Initiative, is alienating the very countries it was supposed to help. The same could now be said of the CR, so isn't it time for the cabinet to review Sobotka's memorandum with China? [ Czech Republic ICT ambassador ]

Glossary of difficult words

to unravel - to start to fail or fall apart;

aboveboard - open and straightforward; free from all traces of deceit or duplicity;

soft power - a persuasive approach to international relations, typically involving the use of economic or cultural influence.

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