Croatian and Chinese presidents meet in Beijing


Croatia strongly supports cooperation between the European Union and China within the framework of the 2020 Strategic Agenda, Croatia’s President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic said on Wednesday on the first day of her state visit to China, while her host, President Xi Jinping, expressed willingness to discuss more imports of Croatian goods on the Chinese market.

Grabar-Kitarovic launched her five-day visit to China, the first by a Croatian president in 13 years, in Tiananmen Square in Beijing where she was officially welcomed by President Xi, which was followed with a bilateral meeting between the two delegations, her office said in a press release.

President Grabar-Kitarovic is expected to meet with China’s highest officials, participate at a forum on eradicating poverty as well as conduct meetings with Chinese and Croatian businessmen. The focus will be on developing economic relations between the two countries, as well as on bilateral relations, global foreign policies and the situation in Croatia’s and China’s neighbourhoods.

The two countries are linked by a long-standing friendship and openness, Grabar-Kitarovic said, underscoring that on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the Partnership in General Cooperation, “our partnership today is developing in a new context. Croatia is a member of the European Union and NATO and China has gained another steady friend in these organisations.”

She reflected on the marking of 40 years of relations between the EU and China and said that as the youngest member of the EU, Croatia strongly supports EU-China cooperation within the 2020 Strategic Agenda.

Chinese President Xi expressed readiness for talks on greater imports of Croatian commodities on the Chinese market, the press release adds. President Xi also said that Grabar-Kitarovic’s upcoming meeting in Shanghai with the Chinese business community and Croatian companies present in China confirms the importance of her visit and of the future of Croatian-Chinese economic relations.

Grabar-Kitaorvic said that she is convinced that the next Croatian government will continue to strengthen Croatian-Chinese partnership, particularly in the economy, and promised that she would encourage this.

Xi is certain that President Grabar-Kitarovic’s visit will inject a new vitality in bilateral relations, the press release notes. He compared his “Chinese Dream” programme with the President’s programme “For a Better Croatia” and said he was convinced that under her leadership, Croatia would achieve even more on its development path, the press release says.

Croatia is an important country for China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative and for strengthening China’s cooperation with Central European countries within the China’s ’16+1 Cooperation’ initiative, with special focus on energy and transport, Xi said, also welcoming Grabar-Kitarovic’s ‘Adriatic-Baltic-Black Sea’ initiative.

The two presidents agreed that bilateral cooperation between Croatia and China is exceptionally good in many fields, particularly in culture, tourism, science and education, both on the national and regional levels.

Grabar-Kitaorovic praised the growing number of Chinese tourists visiting Croatia and an increase in the number of cultural events which bring China’s rich culture closer to Croatian citizens.

The two presidents agreed on a number of key issues on the international agenda, such as sustainable development and climate change, growing terrorism and the migrant crisis, the press release says.

President Xi accepted President Grabar-Kitarovic’s invitation that he visit Croatia.

The President is expected to meet with China’s Prime Minister Li Keqiang on Thursday as well as attend a working lunch with Vice Foreign Minister Wang Chao, the main coordinator of the ’16+1 Cooperation’ initiative. The President is also expected to visit the headquarters of the Huawei company. (Hina)