Saturday, 28 September 2019

Ambassador Says China, Croatia Are in Best Period of Relations in History

ZAGREB, September 28, 2019 - Chinese-Croatian relations have entered the best period in history, Ambassador Xu Erwen said in Zagreb on Friday at a ceremony marking 70 years of the People's Republic of China.

"Over the past 70 years China was a nation with scars from humiliation," she said, adding that China, from a country struck by wars in an almost feudal society, had become "the world's second economy."

"As regards China-Croatia relations, they have already entered the best period in history," the ambassador said. "Both our prime ministers said our relations had entered the diamond period," she added, referring to Chinese PM Li Keqiang's statement in Zagreb last April.

The ambassador said Chinese-Croatian economic relations had gained momentum and that the "Chinese investment" in the Pelješac bridge had been received very well in Croatia. "Many people are congratulating me on the bridge and appreciate very much this Chinese contribution to Croatia's prosperity," she added.

The bridge in southernmost Croatia is being built by the China Bridge and Road Corporation. The EU is co-financing 85% of the construction costs and Croatia the rest.

"We have many more opportunities to develop cooperation, notably in digital economy," the ambassador said, adding that more than 500,000 Chinese tourists visited Croatia this year.

Many former and incumbent Croatian officials, ambassadors accredited in Croatia, athletes, academicians and others attended the ceremony Xu hosted at Esplanade hotel.

"Today China is very determined to protect its sovereignty, national security and interest," she told reporters, commenting on the situation in Hong Kong, relations with Taiwan and the status of the Uyghurs.

"The most important job in Hong Kong is to reject the violence and restore the rule of law. Hong Kong is Chinese Hong Kong. We strongly object to foreign meddling in China's internal matters," she said.

She said Taiwan, which officially calls itself the Republic of China, was an "inseparable part" of the People's Republic of China and that there was "only one China in the world." "We oppose any separatism," she added.

Xu also commented on the western Chinese region of Xinjiang, where the status of the Uyghurs has come to the attention of the international community and human rights groups which claim that members of that Muslim minority have been imprisoned without trials.

"Xinjiang is a beautiful place which had a lot of terrorism and violence over 20 years that claimed many innocent lives. The Chinese government therefore introduced a series of measures to stop terrorists, including centres that stop people from having terrorist ideas," she said, calling this measure very effective as "there has been no terrorism over the past three years."

"Many foreign journalists, international organisations and diplomats have been in Xinjiang and they are very impressed with the prosperity and stability there," the ambassador said.

More news about relations between Croatia and China can be found in the Politics section.

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Croatia-China Relations Reach Enviable Level

ZAGREB, September 3, 2019 - The relations between Croatia and China, based on mutual trust and respect, have been steadily developed for the past 27 years to reach an enviable level following the Croatian Prime Minister's visit to China in late 2018 and the Chinese premier's visit to Croatia in 2019, Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković said in Zagreb on Monday.

Addressing the ceremony of opening of an exhibition on China's development in the past 40 years in the Croatian capital, Jandroković said that the bilateral relations had been continuously developed since 1992 when the two countries established their diplomatic relations.

The visit of Premier Li Keqiang to Croatia this April has made our friendship and a high-level mutual trust even stronger, said Jandroković.

That visit has given an impetus to the strengthening of our political dialogue which is entering a diamond era, he added.

PM Andrej Plenković travelled to China in November 2018 and his Chinese counterpart was in Zagreb and Dubrovnik this April.

Dubrovnik was the venue of a summit meeting of the China+16 format for the implementation of the projects within The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a global development strategy adopted by the Chinese government involving infrastructure development and investments in a number of countries.

During the visit of the top Chinese delegation to Croatia, the two countries concluded 11 agreements.

"Today the symbol of this bilateral cooperation is Pelješac Bridge. It will be a permanent monument to our friendly relations," said Jandroković, in reference to the fact that the future bridge is being built by China Road and Bridge Corporation.

The Chinese ambassador Xu Erwen, who has recently assumed the ambassadorial post in Zagreb, said that the two countries had made excellent progress in their bilateral relations in the recent years.

The trade between the two countries increased by 16.2% last year, said Xu, who is the 9th Chinese ambassador to Zagreb.

She also spoke about the importance of trilateral cooperation between her country, Croatia and the EU.

More news about relations between Croatia and China can be found in the Politics section.

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Chinese Police Officers Conclude Participation in “Safe Tourist Season 2019” Project

ZAGREB, August 14, 2019 - Eight Chinese police officers, who were deployed in the areas of four Croatian police departments from July 13 to August 14, on Wednesday ended their participation in the "Safe Tourist Season 2019" project, as part of which police officers from countries that generate most foreign visits in Croatia help during the summer their Croatian colleagues in providing for security on the Adriatic coast.

The State Secretary at the Tourism Ministry, Tonči Glavina, thanked Chinese police officers for their participation in the project and for helping show that Croatia is a safe country.

There were no reports of incidents during the stay of the Chinese police officers and their joint patrols with Croatian police, and their presence had a positive effect on Chinese tourists, who approached them for information, as confirmed by the head of the Chinese team, Xue Qiang, who said that Chinese police officers had also visited Chinese citizens living in Croatia and praised the project as having strengthened the two countries' friendship and cooperation.

Velimir Tišma, head of the sector for crime prevention of the Zagreb City Police Department, said that dozens of thousands of Chinese tourists visited Zagreb every year and that police worked continually on the safety of tourists in the capital, which included additional police training.

He recalled that Croatian police had made, in cooperation with Chinese police, a leaflet in the Croatian and Chinese languages, to be distributed as of next season to Chinese tourists throughout the country, with useful information on self-protective behaviour.

Deputy Chief Police Director Josip Ćelić said that the project helped build strong partnerships, improved the quality of police services and boosted the confidence of Croatian citizens and foreign visitors in Croatian police.

The eight Chinese police officers were deployed in Dubrovnik-Neretva, Lika-Senj, Zadar and Zagreb counties.

China is the first Asian country to join in this project and 2019 was the second consecutive year that Chinese police officers visited Croatia as part of the project, which involved 95 police officers from 19 countries this year.

More news about Croatian tourism can be found in the Travel section.

Saturday, 13 July 2019

Eight Chinese Police Officers Included in Safe Tourist Season Project in Croatia

ZAGREB, July 13, 2019 - A ceremony marking the participation of eight Chinese police officers in the 2019 Safe Tourist Season was held in Zagreb's main square on Saturday.

The Chinese police will patrol together with their Croatian colleagues the most popular destinations in Croatia for Chinese guests: Zagreb, Zadar, Dubrovnik and Lika-Senj County.

The Croatian Chief of Police Nikola Milina said at the ceremony that he was satisfied with the expansion of this cooperation. Last year, six Chinese law enforcement officers were included in this project, and this year there are two more policemen from that Asian country.

The Safe Tourism Season project includes foreign police officers, and the first to join the project were Hungarian police, in 2006.

Over the years, a total of 804 police officers from 19 countries have come to Croatia during the tourist season to assist their Croatian colleagues.

Milina underscores that this season, there are a record high number of 95 police officers from a total of 19 countries.

The project has been recognised in international police forums, Interpol also recommends it as a project of the best international police practice, he said.

Chinese Ambassador Xu Erwen said the inclusion of Chinese police in the project confirmed traditional friendship and cooperation between the two countries.

More news about relations between Croatia and China can be found in the Politics section.

Saturday, 22 June 2019

China's Shanxi Province to Intensify Tourist and Cultural Exchange with Croatia

ZAGREB, June 22, 2019 - The Culture and Tourism Department of China's Shanxi Province, in cooperation with the Croatian-Chinese Friendship Society, in Zagreb on Friday organised a conference on cultural and tourism cooperation between the province and Croatia at which both sides expressed a desire to intensify their cooperation.

The conference was organised as part of activities marking 2019 as the year of cooperation between China and Croatia. It brought together over a hundred representatives of the Chinese province's tourism and culture sector, the Chinese Embassy, the Croatian Tourist Board, the Tourism Department of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce and Croatian travel agencies. Before the conference, several travel agencies held a meeting with potential Chinese partners and some of them signed cooperation agreements.

He Zhiyong, the managing director of a Shanxi-based travel agency, said that Croatia was very attractive to Chinese tourists.

"This is my third time in Croatia and I am doing all I can to establish business cooperation with one of Croatian partners, because tourists from our province want to come to Croatia. And we are telling them that they should go not just because of beaches and islands, but also because of Croatia's rich culture and history, which is also very attractive," he said.

He said that he did not have a deal with any Croatian travel agency yet, but believed that this would change soon and Croatian tourists would soon come to Shanxi to enjoy its historical and cultural attractions.

Tourism consultant Dubravka Davidović said that today's conference followed up on the 16+1 strategy to increase tourist cooperation between China and 16 Central and Eastern European countries.

"Since this is the year of cooperation between China and Croatia, we believe that we will have a lot more tourists from China this year than we have had so far, as was the case in other countries," Davidovic said, adding that some countries that hosted 16+1 meetings had seen fivefold increases in the number of Chinese visitors.

Shanxi Province is situated on the Loess Plateau in northern China. It has 271 cultural landmarks under state protection, which accounts for 11.5 percent of all such landmarks in the country. Many of the historical sites are included on the UNESCO world heritage list, including the Terracotta Army, a collection of terracotta sculptures of warriors dating from approximately the late third century BCE.

More news about relations between Croatia and China can be found in the Politics section.

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

China Soon to Grant Permits for Croatian Dairy Products

ZAGREB, June 18, 2019 - Chinese permits for Croatian dairy products  should be finalised by the end of the year, which will open the Chinese market to Croatian exporters, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Agriculture Tomislav Tolušić said on Tuesday.

The procedure is in its final stage and we hope exports could begin by the year's end, Tolušić told the press after a meeting at government headquarters with Chinese Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs Han Changfu. The meeting was also attended by Prime Minister Andrej Plenković.

Tolušić said that the procedure to issue permits was initiated five years ago and that Croatia wished to avoid such a long procedure in the future because it was also interested in exporting poultry, pork, fresh and frozen tuna and other products to China.

"We want a much bigger commodity exchange in agriculture and the food industry and that's why we need Chinese permits," Tolušić said. "We are glad that the Chinese agriculture ministry sees this and is willing to help us," he added.

Tolušić said that by the end of this year the Chinese would make a promo film about Croatian food products and would broadcast it on Chinese TV channels to help promote Croatian products on the Chinese market.

Minister Han said that the Croatian-Chinese cooperation in the agriculture sector was very good and that China wants to intensify it.

"The Chinese market needs quality products and this could help Croatian agriculture, while on the other hand Chinese citizens can enjoy quality Croatian products," Han said.

He added that he expected Croatian dairy products to be placed on the Chinese market soon and announced the media promotion of these and other food products from Croatia.

More news about Croatian agriculture can be found in the Business section.

Monday, 17 June 2019

Croatian and Chinese Officials Developing Agricultural Cooperation

ZAGREB, June 17, 2019 - A delegation of the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs led by Minister Han Changfu arrived in Zagreb on Monday for a three-day official visit to Croatia.

During their stay in Croatia, the Chinese officials will be received by Agriculture Minister Tomislav Tolušić and visit several agricultural and food producers, the ministry said in a press release.

The talks with Tolušić are scheduled for Monday afternoon.

A joint press conference will be held after a meeting in the government on Tuesday.

The delegation will visit the Koka poultry processing plant in Varaždin and after that it will travel to the southern coastal town of Ston to tour the local saltworks and oyster farms.

Minister Tolušić conducted a visit to China last week where he attended the 4th dialogue between China and Central and Eastern European countries regarding customs, inspections and quarantine.

Tolušić 's visit to China was aimed at speeding up the process of approving the import of Croatian agricultural products - particularly meat and meat products, fresh tuna and honey to China, and that was the topic of a bilateral meeting between Minister Tolušić and Vice Minister Wang Lingjun in the General Administration of Customs (GACC).

The two officials then agreed on further exchanging information with the aim of expediting procedures and strengthening foreign-trade exchange of agricultural products between Croatia and China.

During an official visit of China's Premier Li Keqiang to Croatia in April, a protocol was signed paving the way for the export of Croatian dairy products to the Chinese market following the inspection of Croatia's processing plants and food control system by Chinese experts.

More news about relations between Croatia and China can be found in the Politics section.

Saturday, 15 June 2019

Chinese Camel Group to Intensify Cooperation with Rimac Automobili

ZAGREB, June 15, 2019 - Liu Changlai, CEO of the Camel Group, a company that together with Rimac Automobili started building a factory for propulsion systems for electric vehicles, on Friday said that the group would in future intensify its cooperation with Rimac and that by the year's end the jointly built company in the city of Xiangyang will have a capacity of producing 150,000 propulsion systems a year.

Liu Changlai confirmed the news of the intensified cooperation to Hina after a meeting in the Zagreb City Assembly where a memorandum of understanding between the cities of Zagreb and Xiangyang was signed. The CEO was part of a senior delegation from that Chinese city on visit to Zagreb. The founder of Rimac Automobili, Mate Rimac, also attended the meeting.

In 2017 the Camel Group invested 30 million euro in Rimac Automobili and last year Camel and Rimac made a joint investment in Xiangyang for the construction of the local factory where propulsion systems will be manufactured for electric vehicles as well as motors and power inverters.

Liu underscored the strong support that Xiangyang city authorities provided during the construction of the factory which amounted to 10 million euro. The Camel Group invested 20 million euro and Rimac Automobili provided 5 million euro.

Camel's CEO underscored that the company is the biggest manufacturer of batteries for electric vehicles in Asia and added that in future it would intensify its investments in Rimac Automobili.

Part of the factory that has a capacity of manufacturing 25,000 propulsion systems a year, has already been completed.

More news about Rimac Automobili can be found in the Business section.

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Chinese Interested in Building Logistics Centre at Osijek Airport

ZAGREB, June 11, 2019 - Chinese entrepreneurs are interested in constructing a cargo and logistics centre at Osijek Airport and the government is expecting to receive a letter of intent in that regard as well as negotiations with the relevant ministries, it was said during a visit by a Chinese delegation to the biggest eastern Croatian city on Monday.

President of the Chinese Southeast European Business Association (CSEBA), Mario Rendulić, said that the promotion of Osijek Airport has to date stirred great interest among Chinese partners.

In addition to plans to build a cargo centre at the airport, Chinese entrepreneurs are expected to establish a logistics centre too.

Things are moving along and we are pleased about that. They are developing slowly but they are moving forward. We expect a letter of intent to be sent to the government so that we can move on even further, Rendulić said.

Chinese businesswoman Jiang Yu said that she is very interested in this location particularly since it can be combined with the possibilities provided by the Osijek river port and that negotiations are expected now on further details of possible cooperation.

Osijek-Baranja County Prefect Ivan Anušić assesses that the latest visit by a larger Chinese delegation than on 18 April means they are truly interested, adding that further steps are being discussed and advertising a call for bids is within the remit of state government bodies and not at the county level.

I think that we're entering the final phase when talks need to be conducted between interested investors and the relevant ministries. They are interested in the airport, both for passenger and cargo transport which entails the construction of a logistics centre and we have more than 250 hectares of land available, Anušić said.

He believes that due to the airport's close vicinity to the river port, the pan-European Vc motorway and railway corridor as well as the closeness of the border with Hungary and with Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, Osijek is an ideal location which has been recognised by the Chinese entrepreneurs, he added.

The Osijek Airport director, Davor Forgić, informed that last year was a record year as far as passenger transport was concerned with 67,235 passengers catered for, up 55% on the year.

More Osijek Airport news can be found in the Travel section.

Friday, 24 May 2019

Chinese Want to Invest in Former Communist Political School in Kumrovec

ZAGREB, May 24, 2019 - Chinese investors will invest EUR 20 million in Hotel Zagorje in Kumrovec, which used to be a political school in the former Yugoslavia, Chinese businesswoman Yu Jiang, co-owner of the Zhongya Nekretnine company, the only company that submitted a bid for that property in a recent tender, said on Friday.

Yu attended a ceremony in Kumrovec, some 60 kilometres northwest of Zagreb, at which State Assets Minister Goran Marić presented municipal head Robert Šplajt with a decision whereby the recreational area in the municipality's Razvor settlement would be transferred to the ownership of Kumrovec municipality.

The Chinese businesswoman answered questions from the press about her plans for investments in the former political school. She said that according to an initial estimate, around 20 million euro would be invested in the project.

We are interested in developing some types of tourism and I believe that this area is suitable for congress and health tourism, Yu said, adding that cooperation with the tourism sector on the coast was possible but that the plan was to develop year-round tourism in Kumrovec.

Asked how much the fact that former Yugoslav leader Josip Broz Tito was born in Kumrovec would be used for tourism purposes, Yu briefly said that they respected history and that Tito was a very important part of the region's history. We hope to introduce a new style in tourism, increase gross domestic product and help the local community in its development, the Chinese entrepreneur said.

Yu has visited Kumrovec a number of times and said she wants to convert Hotel Zagorje into a real hotel as well as create a memorial park honouring Tito.

Bids for the devastated state-owned Hotel Zagorje, which covers 27,000 square metres, were opened on May 7. The only bid submitted was that of the Zhongya Nekretnine company, worth 14.09 million kuna.

Marić said that the ministry had accepted the bid and forwarded a proposal to the government to sign an agreement with the bidder. Currently, the opinions of the relevant ministries are being awaited, Marić said.

More Kumrovec news can be found in the Politics section.

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