Lajcak: Meeting between Kiska and Dalai Lama Will Damage Slovakia

Slovak Foreign and European Affairs Minister Miroslav Lajcak (stock photo by TASR)

Bratislava, October 19 (TASR) – The recent meeting between Slovak President Andrej Kiska and the 14th Dalai Lama will have a negative impact on Slovak-Chinese relations, said Slovak Foreign and European Affairs Minister Miroslav Lajcak (a Smer-SD nominee) after the Cabinet session on Wednesday.

“These are matters that the Chinese won’t allow to subside without any reaction,” noted Lajcak. China has already summoned the Slovak charge d’affaires in Beijing twice, noted Lajcak, who is meeting Chinese Ambassador to Slovakia Lin Lin later on Wednesday. Lajcak didn’t want to speculate on what the consequences could be. “We’ll try to mitigate the fallout,” he added.

There are plenty of ways in which China could respond. “Restricting relations or cooperation, suspending projects. We have an active political and economic dialogue with China, so basically this will become apparent in something,” stated Lajcak.

“Slovakia will be harmed not only because China has the largest economy in the world but also because it’s a global superpower and a permanent member of the UN Security Council and it’s angry with us at the moment. This will damage our relations, and I regret that,” he said.

Lajcak noted that he spoke to Kiska prior to the meeting and warned him of the potential risks. Conversely, Kiska stated his motivation for meeting the Tibetan spiritual leader. Kiska met the Dalai Lama at a private lunch outside the Presidential Palace on Sunday (October 16). However, Lajcak said that the Chinese don’t make any distinctions between private and official meetings.

The Chinese Foreign Affairs Ministry put out a statement on Monday (October 17) warning that China will retaliate against Slovakia over the meeting. The ministry also said that Kiska ignored China’s “strong opposition” to the meeting, which was contrary to Slovakia’s promise to pursue a ‘one China’ policy. Kiska responded that the meeting wasn’t in any way meant as a challenge to Slovakia’s unequivocal attitude towards the one China policy.