Thursday, 18 April 2019

Chinese Executives to Visit Pula and Rijeka Shipyards

ZAGREB, April 18, 2019 - Executives from a Chinese shipbuilding company will visit two Croatian shipyards later this month or early next month to explore possibilities for cooperation, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković announced in an interview with the HRT public broadcaster on Wednesday evening.

The announcement came after a high-level Chinese delegation, led by Premier Li Keqiang, visited Croatia last week as part of the summit of 17 Central and Eastern European countries and China in Dubrovnik.

The CEO of the China Shipbuilding Corporation, the man whom Premier Li contacted during his visit last week, will visit Croatia together with a high-level delegation between April 25 and May 10, Plenković said. "They will visit Pula and Rijeka to see what can be done about their possible engagement or cooperation," he added.

The prime minister said that Croatia had done all it could to get the Chinese interested. "We also discussed this in Beijing last November, and I am not surprised by their decision to visit Croatia so soon," he said, noting that China is the world's biggest buyer and builder of ships.

The news came after the Commercial Court in the northern coastal city of Rijeka earlier on Wednesday once again delayed a hearing at which it was to decide on the opening of bankruptcy proceedings for the 3. Maj shipyard, rescheduling the hearing for June 5.

Citing data from Eurostat and the Croatian statistical office, Plenković said that despite the payment of 2.5 billion kuna last year for guarantees for the Uljanik and 3. Maj shipyards, the government budget again ran a surplus of about 756 million kuna. "Our fiscal consolidation is producing results. We are in company with Germany and France," the prime minister said.

He announced that a document promoting three key goals - a better business environment, connecting the education system with the labour market and strengthening the consolidation of public finance - and covering 10 reform areas, 30 measures and 100 activities would be unveiled at a cabinet meeting on Thursday. He added that a convergence programme would also be presented.

"We will continue to reduce the share of public debt in GDP from the present 74.6 percent to 62 percent in 2022, which is one of our goals from the euro adoption strategy. Growth is projected at 2.2 percent, which is sound growth based on the sound conduct of public finance and monetary policy," Plenković said.

Plenković said that at its session on Thursday the government would formally offer France the expertise of Croatian restorers and conservators for the restoration of the fire-damaged Notre Dame Cathedral, "the symbol of France, Christianity and Europe." Croatian experts have already collaborated with their French colleagues in restoring Croatian monuments and historical heritage, the prime minister said.

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

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Belt and Road Physical Education Forum Taking Place in Zagreb

ZAGREB, April 17, 2019 - Experts in physical education from China and 16 Central and Eastern European countries gathered in Zagreb on Wednesday for the first international Belt and Road forum to discuss cooperation opportunities.

A total of 120 participants - rectors, deans and senior officials of 35 institutions from 22 countries - arrived for the event, hosted by the Zagreb Faculty of Kinesiology.

The University of Zagreb, Beijing Sport University and Beijing Normal University signed an agreement on mutual understanding and cooperation and Zagreb University and Beijing Sport University signed an agreement on launching university sport games.

Beijing Sport University vice-president Gao Feng called on the forum to openly share education resources, research new ways of cooperation and approaches to cooperation and develop mechanisms of bilateral and multilateral long-term exchanges and cooperation in line with principles of mutual respect, learning and joint development.

He called on other universities to join the forum and become a host of the annual forum with Beijing Sport University and contribute to the development of higher education and sports science.

Zagreb University Rector Damir Boras promised that Zagreb University, where close to a half of all students in Croatia study, would promote cooperation and development of new projects.

The first Belt and Road Physical education Forum is taking place in Zagreb from 16 to 19 April.

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

Monday, 15 April 2019

Activities Planned for Year of Culture and Tourism in Croatia and China

ZAGREB, April 15, 2019 - In 2019, as the Year of Culture and Tourism in Croatia and China, various joint activities will be undertaken to promote the two countries, increase cultural and transport ties, exchange experience in special forms of tourism, and encourage investment, Croatian Tourism Minister Gari Cappelli announced in an interview with Hina.

Some of the activities were agreed last week during a visit by a high-level Chinese delegation, such as the signing of a memorandum on cooperation in special forms of tourism, which was preceded by a meeting with Chinese Culture and Tourism Minister Luo Shugang.

"It was his second visit in a short time. Last September he visited a China+16 conference on tourism in Dubrovnik. This time too we reaffirmed the good cooperation, and Minister Shugang invited us to China in the autumn to be special guests at their international tourism fair which will involve 100 countries," Cappelli said.

Speaking of cooperation in special forms of tourism, the minister said that Chinese investors were interested in health tourism.

"The Chinese market is very important to us because Chinese tourists are not motivated by recreation, but by culture, cuisine and other special forms of tourism. Last year 234,100 Chinese tourists visited Croatia and generated 344,000 bed nights, which is an increase of 46 percent on 2017. Positive trends are expected to continue this year too," Cappelli said.

Among of the activities that were already carried out this year are the presentation of 20 Chinese artists in Varaždin in February, the conference "The Role of China in Southeastern Europe" in Zagreb in March, and the licensing of 33 Chinese nationals as tourist guides in Zagreb, which took place in January.

On the other hand, the Croatian National Tourist Board organised two workshops and two webinars for about 200 Chinese travel agents and tour operators in Beijing and Shanghai in February and March, and the Zagreb Tourist Board promoted the Croatian capital in Beijing in March.

Until the end of the year, the Croatian Tourism Ministry plans study trips for Chinese media and tour operators, workshops, cultural events, and presentations at travel shows.

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

Saturday, 13 April 2019

Chinese to Visit Uljanik Shipyard Very Soon

ZAGREB, April 13, 2019 - Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Friday he had asked his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang to see if a major Chinese shipbuilding company would be interested in becoming a partner to the ailing Croatian shipyards Uljanik and 3rd May and helping in their restructure.

"I have asked the Chinese premier, who in turn has asked his ministers, to invite a key Chinese shipbuilding company to visit Croatia, Uljanik and 3rd May and see if they would be interested in becoming a partner that would help in their restructure," Plenković told the RTL commercial television network.

The prime minister did not specify when that could happen, saying only that it would happen "very soon".

He recalled that the government had already paid 420 million euro worth of state guarantees, "which unfortunately went to banks for previously granted loans." "In the past year or so we have done all we could under the law," he added.

Plenković said he had taken advantage of Premier Li's visit to Croatia to explain to him the context of the domestic shipbuilding industry and the importance of the two shipyards which have been operating for over 160 years. "What they need is a serious consolidator who knows how to run these processes in accordance with the market requirements of 21st century shipbuilding."

Plenković also commented on the statement made by Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabić in Dubrovnik on Friday, when she said she was ready to make the first move and invite him to visit Serbia because "political frictions don't do anyone any good in the region."

"Next year Croatia takes over the EU presidency and in the process of preparations for that I will visit all our neighbours, certainly Belgrade, Sarajevo, Skopje, Pristina and Tirana. We want to be well prepared for a summit that will take place in May 2020," he said.

Plenković expressed his satisfaction with the Dubrovnik summit of Central and Eastern European countries and China, which ended on Friday. He said that the Chinese premier's visit was very successful and that it was very important for mutual relations and for the positioning of Croatia in Central Europe.

More news about the Uljanik shipyard can be found in the Business section.

Friday, 12 April 2019

China: 17+1 Summit Shows We Are for Free Trade

ZAGREB, April 12, 2019 - The summit of 16 Central and Eastern European countries and China, which opened in Dubrovnik on Friday, clearly shows that the member states advocate multilateralism and free trade, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang told a closing press conference in the afternoon, with Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković at his side.

Li had arrived in Croatia on Wednesday from Brussels where China and the European Union adopted a joint statement in which Beijing pledged to open the Chinese economy and ensure fair business conditions, following the EU's frustration over the lack of reciprocity in trade.

"In Brussels, we achieved a consensus with European leaders and reached a joint statement, and this summit is a further step based on that achievement," Li said, adding that they will treat each other openly and transparently and work together on market principles to create projects to mutual benefit.

The initiative, which started out as 16+1, will from now on be called 17+1 after Greece joined the forum this morning. Next year it will be hosted by China.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras arrived in Dubrovnik on Friday and joined other leaders at the end of the plenary session and a photo session.

Tsipras thanked Plenković and Li for making it possible for Greece, already a considerable recipient of Chinese investment, to be admitted as a new member. He said that this was a crucial moment for global and regional development, emphasising the need to find a new basis for global and regional cooperation.

The West fears that China's growing economic influence will increase its political power over certain countries, such as Greece which blocked European criticism of the human rights situation in China in the UN in 2017 shortly after the Asian country took over the largest Greek port of Piraeus.

Tsipras, however, said in Dubrovnik that international cooperation should be based on full respect for EU rules.

Li said at the closing press conference that China abides by European laws, rules and standards when operating in Europe and that it also does so in 17+1 countries that are not members of the EU.

"That shows that we are working together on multilateralism and free trade," the Chinese premier said, adding that he believes their cooperation will contribute to more balanced development in Europe.

At the end of the conference, China signed a number of bilateral agreements with other countries, including those on infrastructure construction and food imports.

Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said in conclusion that this format had proved to be fruitful and useful and that it provided all member states that cannot compete with large European states with "an excellent form of cooperation that is part of China's wider 'Belt and Road' policy."

He said he was pleased that Croatia had signed a dozen agreements with China, emphasising further cooperation in the construction of infrastructure, especially port and railway infrastructure.

"Li's visit, both our bilateral meeting and today's summit, will be a reference point in strengthening our relations and improving cooperation through the China+17 platform," the Croatian PM concluded.

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

Friday, 12 April 2019

Record Number of Participants at 16 + 1 Initiative Summit

ZAGREB, April 12, 2019 - The 9th Business Forum of CEEC & China (16 + 1) opened on Friday with a record number of participants and messages from the Croatian and Chinese prime ministers that Croatia has been known throughout history for its trade.

The 16+1 initiative was established in 2012 with the aim of strengthening trade between China and Central and Eastern European countries and this is the 9th business forum as part of that initiative that has both a political and economic dimension.

The prime ministers of Croatia and China, Andrej Plenković and Li Leqiang, respectively along with another 14 heads of government, numerous ministers, ambassadors and large trade delegations are attending the business forum in Dubrovnik which was launched with a video of Croatia's tradition of innovations as well as contemporary companies and innovators such as Mate Rimac, the Genos Laboratory, Photomath, Q Software, 3LHD, Prostoria and Ivan Mrvoš.

Opening the forum, Prime Minister Plenković expressed his satisfaction that the forum is being held in Dubrovnik which is on the UNESCO world heritage list and which was a leader in global trade between the 14th and 19th centuries. "It strengthened ties between the West and East," and possessed the third largest fleet in the world.

He added that the summit was held near the Korčula island where Marco Polo, who spent a significant part of his life in China, was born.

Prime Minister Li too underscored that Dubrovnik is a historical city known for its leading position in world trade and added that throughout history Croatia was a symbol of trade. "Croatia is a small country in population and size but it is large for its human potential and appetite for innovations," Plenković said.

He added that Croatia is the homeland of some world renown inventions and it is among the top 25 tourist destinations in the world with 20 million guests a year. Potential for further growth lies in Chinese tourists too, Plenković said adding that last year 250,000 Chinese nationals visited Croatia.

Plenković said that Croatia aims to modernise its two largest ports with a planned investment of 3 billion euro. "My country is an excellently positioned Mediterranean gateway to Central Europe," Plenković underlined.

The two prime ministers then together launched 16 + 1 Coordinating Mechanism website for small and medium-sized enterprises aimed at promoting business contacts between the 17 countries.

Companies of that size have "shown to be very active and fruitful and China wants to facilitate red tape," Prime Minister Li said.

With more than a thousand entrepreneurs arriving to Dubrovnik, Chinese Commerce Minister Zhong Shan referred to the forum as a "record."

"The aim of this forum is cooperation. I hope that you won't just talk and debate but that you will consult and cooperate with each other," Prime Minister Li said.

He underscored that he believes in free trade at a time when the EU is calling for a reciprocal approach for its companies on the Chinese market, which Brussels considers too closed.

"A new technological revolution is underway and that is what defines our era," Prime Minister Li said and added the Beijing also wants to boost cooperation in the field of education and strengthen imports, particularly of agricultural products.

"Projects like the Pelješac Bridge have to be an inspiration for further cooperation," the Chinese prime minister concluded.

Croatia's Health Ministry, the HŽ Infrastruktura railway maintenance company and three other Croatian companies signed agreements on Friday in Dubrovnik on cooperation with Chinese business partners, including agreements on projects to build a football stadium in Rijeka and develop the Zagreb-Rijeka railroad.

Minister of Economy, Entrepreneurship and Crafts Darko Horvat is certain that the agreements signed today will turn into concrete contracts. China is prepared to invest in Croatia and thus enter Central and Eastern Europe, Horvat underscored.

"There are more than 360 companies here from 17 countries, with almost 1,000 participants. Of that number, more than one hundred are representatives of the banking sector. New models of financing were presented and the opportunity has been created for Chinese financial institutions to enter Croatia so that those projects that currently can't obtain EU grants, can be financed and implemented," Horvat said.

Speaking of the ailing Uljanik shipbuilding group, Horvat underscored that Chinese shipbuilders would be arriving in Croatia in the next two weeks.

The Top International Engineering Corporation (TIEC) from China signed today two agreements on cooperation with Croatian partners, for the construction of a new football stadium in Rijeka and accompanying facilities, a hotel and business centre, and for the use of renewable energy sources.

"A concrete contract will be signed in one year's time on the project to build a football stadium in accordance with UEFA standards, a hotel and a business centre in Rijeka. Cooperation could be expanded to include the construction of a marina," the general director of the Kantrida Stadium company, Luka Ivančić, said.

TIEC will assist the other partner, the Eco Consult company, in implementing clean energy technology on the Chinese market, particularly in manufacturing industries that are large energy consumers and emit large quantities of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, Eco Consult director Goran Pavlovic said.

Together with its partners - China Railway Eryuan Engineering Group Corporation and China Road and Bridge Corporation - HŽ Infrastruktura has established cooperation in the transport sector, specifically on the Rijeka-Zagreb railroad project and the Mediterranean corridor.

The Metamorfoza company has agreed with the Shangai Everglow Management Partners in China to open the largest ever Museum of Illusions in Shanghai at the end of June this year.

"We are continuing to expand and are starting cooperation on the Chinese market by opening the Museum of Illusions in Shanghai, which is an excellent way to mark the beginning of the Croatian and Chinese year of culture and tourism," Antonija Prstačić of Metamorfoza said.

The Zagreb Faculty of Civil Engineering and China Road and Bridge Corporation signed a memorandum of understanding facilitating student mobility and exchange.

Croatian Chamber of Commerce president Luka Burilović expressed his satisfaction with the Dubrovnik forum.

"This forum is a turning point in economic relations between Croatia and China. Croatian private companies are arranging concrete deals through direct talks. We are exploiting the advantage of 'home ground.' It is good that public strategic projects have been foregrounded," Burilović underscored.

The Health Ministry signed a letter of intent with the Sinopharm pharmaceutical company on cooperation in science, health tourism, treatment, financial support and treatment of Chinese patients in Croatia.

"This has laid the foundation for concrete negotiations on projects, from specialisation courses to the referral of patients and investments in health tourism," Health Minister Milan Kujundžić said, adding that this included the possible arrival of Chinese physicians in Croatia.

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

Thursday, 11 April 2019

Plenković, Li Visit Pelješac Bridge Construction Site

ZAGREB, April 11, 2019 - The Pelješac Bridge will remain a permanent monument to the first few years of Croatia's EU membership, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Thursday at the bridge construction site in Brijesta, which he visited with Chinese PM Li Keqiang.

They symbolically lowered into the sea the last and biggest pylon from the first construction phase, the biggest of the 150 that will constitute the centre of the bridge, after which they unveiled a plaque to commemorate the completion of the first construction phase.

The bridge is being built by the China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) and the EU is covering 85% of the costs. Together with access roads, the bridge is worth 520 million euro. It will be 2.5 kilometres long and 55 metres tall and have four lanes.

"The rain outside is falling harder and harder," Li said commenting on the weather. "This sends a message to our company's builders that the bridge must withstand all weather conditions. We in China say that after the rain comes a rainbow, so the bridge, once it's built, will be a rainbow on Earth, and the Chinese builders can celebrate such a miracle with their Croatian friends."

Li arrived in Croatia after an EU-China summit in Brussels on Tuesday. He said the Pelješac Bridge project was important for his country's cooperation with the EU.

Plenković said the bridge was especially important for Croatia "because its realisation will represent a permanent monument, in the most visible sense, to the first few years of Croatia's European Union membership.

He said that construction-wise the bridge was one of the most important bridges built in Europe over the past decade. "It's worth noting that the total weight of the bridge is 80,000 tonnes of steel (which) means it will weigh as ten Eiffel Towers."

"This shows what kind of endeavour this is and what capabilities the CRBC has when it's planting these pylons which, at 130 metres, are practically among the longest in the history of bridge-building in the world," Plenković said, reiterating that this project gave China-Croatia cooperation an entirely new dimension.

After visiting the construction site, the two prime ministers and their delegations returned to Dubrovnik for possible bilateral meetings with some of the 15 prime ministers of central and east European countries participating in the 16+1 initiative, which will hold a summit in Dubrovnik on Friday.

Li arrived in Zagreb on Wednesday. The two countries signed six agreements on cooperation in infrastructure, agriculture, digital technologies, tourism, science and the economy. Four more will be signed in Dubrovnik today and tomorrow.

After the Pelješac bridge, the next big Croatian-Chinese project could be the modernisation of the Zagreb-Rijeka railroad and Croatian seaports, it was said at yesterday's meetings in Zagreb.

Li arrived in Zagreb with a 250-strong delegation. In Dubrovnik, he will be joined by hundreds more Chinese business people as the 16+1 summit is taking place at political and economic levels.

More news about Pelješac Bridge can be found in the Business section.

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Ancient Chinese Scholar-Officials: Painting and Life Exhibition Opened

ZAGREB, April 10, 2019 - The prime ministers of Croatia and China, Andrej Plenković and Li Keqiang, on opened an exhibition entitled "Ancient Chinese Scholar-Officials: Painting and Life" at the Klovićevi Dvori Gallery in Zagreb on Wednesday.

The exhibition presenting various aspects of scholars in ancient Chinese society and their lives and art was organised jointly by the Klovićevi Dvori gallery and the National Museum of China.

Prime Minister Plenković underscored that the Croatian-Chinese year of culture and tourism needs to fortify the friendship between the Croatian and Chinese peoples and the cooperation that has exceptional meaning for both countries.

"This exhibition will present works that will show our public the essence of traditional Chinese culture that was created by ancient scholars by depicting their rich lives and spirituality," Plenković said, expressing satisfaction that Croats will be better acquainted with the works and paintings of ancient Chinese scholars.

He underscored that the programme and exchange in tourism and culture that will occur throughout the year originates from the idea of connecting Croatia and China.

Plenković assessed the visit by Prime Minister Li and his delegation as a path to a new partnership and mutual respect which, he said, makes it possible to establish new cultural and tourism routes in order to mutually increase the visibility of the two countries.

The greatest value of the Silk Road, he believes, was the exchange of cultural goods, languages, philosophies, science, and art along with trade that developed from country to country.

He recalled Marco Polo, a Venetian trader and world explorer who originated from the Croatian island of Korčula and opened Europe's path to that new world.

Plenković said that this was a new opportunity for China to become familiar with Croatia's culture and art, and added that last year 250,000 Chinese tourists visited Croatia.

Prime Minister Li thanked his host for the attention he is dedicating to this exhibition. When we look back, we have to mention the Mediterranean civilisation, of which Croatian culture is an important factor, Li said and added that Croatia is a country of a thousand islands. He recalled the Marco Polo, who was born on one of those islands, was the first to connect the civilisations of the East and the West.

As soon as I set foot on Croatian soil, I sensed the charming civilisation with a beautiful nature and the hosts' hospitality, he said.

Dubrovnik, where the Summit of Central and Eastern European Countries and China (16 + 1) is being held tomorrow, is a place that connects culture with the contemporary world, he said and recalled that a British author once wrote: If you are looking for heaven on earth, go to Dubrovnik!

He underscored that Croatian-Chinese cooperation aspires for the true development of the two countries.

Because of the growing number of Chinese tourists visiting Croatia, he announced the possibility of introducing direct flights.

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

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Croatia and China Entering “Diamond Period” of Their Relations

ZAGREB, April 10, 2019 - Croatia and China are ready to open "a diamond period" in their relations, Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang said in Zagreb on Wednesday, signalling how much attention Beijing is attaching to cooperation with Croatia.

Li arrived in Croatia on Tuesday to strengthen relations with countries in central and east Europe which China wishes to include more strongly in its One Belt One Road project.

Li arrived in Zagreb with a 250-strong delegation, continuing the intensive contacts between Beijing and Zagreb of recent years. This is the first visit of a Chinese Prime Minister to Croatia, but also Li's sixth meeting with Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković over the past two and a half years.

Li said this showed that the countries were ready to raise their relations, established 27 years ago, to a higher level.

"Croatia is a beautiful country, also known as the Pearl of the Adriatic and the Mediterranean," Li said at the start of a meeting between the two countries' delegations.

"Although geographically far away, we are ready to bring our hearts closer and open a diamond period in our relations," Li said.

Croatia and China will sign several economic agreements on Wednesday, including agreements regarding the railway infrastructure and agriculture.

Relations between Zagreb and Beijing have been upgraded to a higher level since the China Road and Bridge Corporation was selected to build the Pelješac Bridge.

The next large concrete project could be the modernisation of the Zagreb-Rijeka lowland railway and Croatian ports, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said ahead of Prime Minister Li's arrival.

The two governments will sign six bilateral agreements in Zagreb and another four in Dubrovnik during the 16 + 1 China - CEEC and Southeast Europe summit.

The agreements concern railroads, agriculture, digital cooperation between the state administration and China's Huawei company, the Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development (HBOR), in science and sports.

Annual trade between the two countries amounts to about one billion euro, mostly in China's favour. Last year, 250,000 Chinese tourists visited Croatia.

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

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Chinese Prime Minister Arrives in Zagreb to Strengthen Modern Silk Road

ZAGREB, April 10, 2019 - Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang arrived in Croatia on Tuesday to strengthen relations with countries in central and east Europe which China wishes to include more strongly in its One Belt One Road project.

Li arrived in Zagreb with a 250-strong delegation, continuing the intensive contacts between Beijing and Zagreb of recent years.

On Wednesday, he will meet with Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović and Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković, as well as sign numerous contracts.

"This is a big political message to Croatia and a chance for the Croatian economy," Plenković told reporters at Zagreb's airport ahead of Li's arrival.

On Thursday and Friday, Li will be in Dubrovnik at the eighth summit of 16+1, the format in which he will meet his counterparts from central and east Europe.

Regular summits have enabled smaller countries to build and develop relations with the world economic power with a population of more than 1.3 billion.

In recent years, China has started investing more in central and southeast Europe, considering the 16+1 initiative an integral part of its One Belt One Road project, a contemporary Silk Road and one of the most ambitious projects in the world.

Li arrived in Croatia after an EU-China summit in Brussels.

Croatia's Minister of Culture Nina Obuljen Koržinek on Tuesday met in Zagreb with Chinese Culture and Tourism Minister Luo Shugang and they discussed the continuation of successful bilateral cooperation in the field of culture and of the opening the 2019 Year of Culture and Tourism, saying the exchange of experts and professionals in culture and their contacts represent a significant advancement in developing cooperation between the two countries.

Apart from cultural activities that will unfold until the end of the year in the area of visual art, music, theatre and protection of cultural heritage, Obuljen Koržinek and Luo expressed their great satisfaction with concrete results that the Croatian-Chinese Year of Culture and Tourism is bringing, the Ministry of Culture said in a press release.

It was underscored that the exchange that will occur between Croatian and Chinese institutions within the cooperation framework of China + 16 Central and Eastern European countries initiative will contribute to developing contacts via already established theatre, library, festivals and museums networks. During the talks it was underscored that China wishes to open a Chinese Cultural Centre in Zagreb as soon as possible and Croatia's Culture Ministry fully supports this initiative.

Related to Rijeka 2020 as the European capital of culture which is being organised under the motto, Rijeka - Port of Diversity, the Chinese side expressed interest in connecting Rijeka with Chinese cities known for their rich historical and cultural tradition, which will be a new step toward developing dialogue and cooperation between Croatian and Chinese cities.

The Croatian-Chinese Year of Culture and Tourism will be officially launched with a Chinese exhibition, "Ancient Chinese Scholar-Officials: Painting and Life" which will be presented in Zagreb's Klović Gallery on Wednesday. It will be officially opened by Croatia's and China's prime ministers Andrej Plenković and Li Keqiang respectively.

The Year of Culture and Tourism will unfold within the framework of bilateral relations between Croatia and China. After Zagreb, the official visit by the high-level Chinese delegation will continue in Dubrovnik on April 11 and 12 at the 16 + 1 summit. From April to December this year, the two countries will present more than 15 Croatian and Chinese art and cultural programmes.

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

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