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Jurečka unlikely to visit China soon, says he did not harm export

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Prague, Nov 3 (CTK) – Czech Agriculture Minister Marian Jurecka believes he has not jeopardised Czech exports to China, though he does not know why China cancelled his planned visit, he said on Thursday, adding that he wants to continue his talks with Chinese ministers but is unlikely to visit China before the end of the year.

Jurecka (Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL) said Deputy Foreign Minister Martin Tlapa and the Chinese ambassador to Prague, Ma Keqing, agreed at a meeting earlier on Thursday that China is interested in bilateral meetings on the level of ministers.

“I am ready to attend the meetings. I consider it necessary to hold meetings on the highest level,” Jurecka said.

However, he is unlikely to go to China this year.

“I consider it little probable,” he said.

Similar trips are planned months in advance, which is why he may theoretically leave for China in the first half of 2017, he said.

The Czech Federation of the Food and Drink Industries (PKCR) has voiced concern at Jurecka’s steps and it said export contracts worth dozens of millions of crowns have bogged down.

Jurecka said he has no information either from his deputy minister Ales Kendik, who is in China now, or from agrarian diplomat Vladimir Randacek about Chinese firms ceasing to communicate with their Czech partners.

He called the PKCR’s statement political.

In recent days, Jurecka backed his party colleague, Culture Minister Daniel Herman, who officially met the Tibetan Dalai Lama in Prague on October 18.

Beijing considers the Dalai Lama, the Nobel Peace Prize holder, a separatist who seeks Tibet’s independence from China, and it criticises foreign politicians’ meetings with him.

Jurecka was to visit China in the days to come to hold negotiations with his counterpart and with the minister for water management. On Tuesday, however, he said he will not go to China because the Chinese ministers have cancelled the planned negotiations.

After meeting ambassador Ma Keqing this morning, Tlapa said she was unable to explain the cancellation.

Jurecka said he does not know the official reason for the cancellation.

“The bilateral meetings on the ministerial level have been cancelled, with China telling the Czech embassy by phone that the reasons are certainly known to both sides. No concrete reason was presented, which is unusual,” Jurecka said.

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