Final Word from Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Prague's city-sister agreement with Beijing isn't an international agreement as understood by the Constitution, but it's taking on that characteristic to a certain degree. Unlike the official position of the Czech state, the sister-city agreement specifically recognizes Taiwan as an indivisible part of the People's Republic of China. Under normal conditions, the president would protest, because only he has the constitutional authority to conclude international agreements that change foreign policy. However, it was Miloš Zeman himself who pushed the envelope with regard to Taiwan by declaring in a meeting in Oct. 2014 with Chinese Pres. Xi Jinping that he believes in the "quick, peaceful reunification" of Taiwan with the Chinese mainland. That isn't official Czech state policy either. Or won't be at least until Zeman signs a strategic partnership with his Chinese counterpart later this month, the text of which hasn't yet been released. [Czech Republic Taipei accord]

Glossary of difficult words

ever-closer union with China - a wordplay on the expression "ever-closer union" relating to the EU;

characteristic - a feature or quality belonging typically to a person, place, or thing and serving to identify it;

indivisible - unable to be separated into parts;

to push the envelope - to approach or extend the limits of what is possible or acceptable.

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