(Bloomberg) -- Tensions between China and one of its sharpest adversaries in the European Union deepened when legislators from the Czech Republic welcomed Taiwan’s foreign minister with a pledge to support the island’s inclusion in the international community.

China condemned the visit and vowed to take “legitimate countermeasures” against the Czechs, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Zhao Lijian told a briefing on Wednesday.

Beijing’s embassy in Prague denounced the Czechs for giving Foreign Minister Joseph Wu “a platform for separatist activity related to an ‘independent Taiwan’” and said “the substance and impact of these acts are disastrous.”

The event escalated a war of words between China and the Czech Republic, whose politicians have repeatedly hosted Taiwanese officials and visited Taipei.

Last year, Beijing called Czech Senate President Milos Vystrcil “an enemy of 1.4 billion Chinese people” for leading a 90-member delegation to democratically run Taiwan that included Prague Mayor Zdenek Hrib, who made Taipei a sister city.

Vystrcil dismissed the comments from China, which sees the recognition of Taiwan as a distinct entity as a violation of its one-China principle.

“Our obligation is to show our will, views, our take on democracy ,freedom and the rule of law,” Vystrcil told a joint briefing alongside Wu in Prague. “The Czech Senate supports the inclusion of Taiwan in international organizations.”

Wu expressed gratitude to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who drew condemnation from Beijing Wednesday with a call for greater participation from Taiwan in United Nations bodies. The Taiwanese envoy also said the Czechs could serve as an example to other European states.

“The current situation has been escalating, and it’s becoming more and more dangerous,” Wu said. “We’re a democratic country and we’ll continue to fight for freedom and democracy.” 

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