Saturday, 24 November 2018

Chinese Vice-Premier Visits Croatia, Meets with Plenković

ZAGREB, November 24, 2018 - Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and Chinese Vice-Premier Sun Chunlan met in Zagreb on Friday and called for stronger economic cooperation between the two countries, notably for more Croatian exports to China and more Chinese investments in Croatia, a government press release said.

Plenković highlighted the importance of intensifying bilateral cooperation, which has gained momentum after the Chinese CRBC company was selected to build the Pelješac Bridge and after the recent opening of work on a wind farm near the northern coastal town of Senj, in which the Chinese company Norinco is investing 160 million euro, the biggest Chinese investment in Croatia.

Plenković and Sun also discussed preparations for a summit of China and 16 Central and Eastern European countries (China+16) which is due to take place in Dubrovnik next spring, shortly after the Chinese premier visits Croatia.

They called for stronger cooperation in the economy and trade, which has reached about a billion US dollars. In light of Plenković's recent visit to China to attend the country's first international import exposition in Shanghai, special emphasis was put on the further growth of Croatian exports to China and the growth of Chinese investments in Croatia.

Plenković and Sun welcomed the growing number of Chinese tourists visiting Croatia, which is expected to reach about 250,000 this year, and expressed their satisfaction with the pace of development of cooperation in education and healthcare following the signing of the programme for cooperation in education for 2018-2022 and the plan for cooperation in healthcare and medicine for 2018-2020.

The Chinese Vice-Premier also met with Croatia’s Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Marija Pejčinović-Burić, and she also attended an event celebrating Croatian-Chinese cooperation in the sports sector.

For more on the recent improvement of the Croatian-Chinese relations, which has reportedly caused some concern among those worried about China's growing influence in central and eastern Europe, click here.

Friday, 2 November 2018

Plenković Meets With Prime Minister of China

ZAGREB, November 2, 2018 - Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković met with his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang in Beijing on Friday, saying afterwards that China was interested in investing in the renewal of Croatia's rail infrastructure and shipbuilding industry, which could be realised as part of the China + 16 initiative.

Plenković today began a five-day working visit to China. "We talked about possible Chinese investment in the rail infrastructure, in ports, which is especially important to Croatia. We have developed a great road infrastructure, invested a lot in airports. However, we now have to further upgrade railways," he said, adding that the plan was to invest three billion euro in the rail infrastructure by 2030.

"The interest and expertise of Chinese companies could open new pages of cooperation, very concrete ones, as everyone is highly interested in the China + 16 framework," Plenković said, adding that Croatia would host the 2019 meeting of the initiative which promotes stronger cooperation between the world's second largest economy and the countries of east and central Europe.

He held working meetings with the executives of the China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC), the China Railway Group Limited, Norinco, and the CSIC Shipbuilding Corporation. "We requested a meeting with the Chinese shipbuilding corporation. They are interested in partnership, in cooperation," Plenković said. He outlined the current state of Croatia's shipbuilding to CSIC, one of the world's largest shipbuilders. He recalled that CSIS had been cooperating with Croatia's Institute for Ship Hydrodynamics for some time now, saying "they are very satisfied with the expertise of Croatian experts."

Asked by reporters if it was possible to find a strategic partner for Croatia's ailing Uljanik dock, Plenković said it was and that there was interest, including from Fincantieri, DIV and Ukrainian companies. "The information we have presented here in China has fallen on fertile ground."

Plenković's meeting with Li was their fifth over the past two years. He said today they talked about increasing bilateral trade and that both were satisfied with the ongoing construction of the Pelješac Bridge in Croatia.

The bridge is being built by CRBC, whose CEO Lu Shan said after the talks with Plenković that this was "a very important moment" for the company. "This is an opportunity to present to the Croatian prime minister the project we have launched, the job we have done so far and the job we have lined up for the next few months."

Lu said it was important to CRBC to hire local labour and honour all environmental regulations. "It's quite a sophisticated bridge because of the quite big span of the central arch and the strict European laws on environmental protection. We must be very careful about all the technical issues, and the environment especially, so that we don't breach European standards or disappoint people."

For more on the Pelješac bridge construction, read here.

Friday, 26 October 2018

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung Accuses Croatia of Being China's EU Player

Croatia's decision to allow a Chinese state-owned company to construct Pelješac Bridge isn't sitting well with many...

Saturday, 20 October 2018

Bosnian Authorities Divided over Opposition to Pelješac Bridge

ZAGREB, October 20, 2018 - Bosnia and Herzegovina's Justice Minister Josip Grubeša (HDZ BiH) described as malicious on Friday the motion by Civil Affairs Minister Adil Osmanović (SDA) asking the country's ombudsman to launch proceedings before the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea in Hamburg to challenge the construction of the Pelješac Bridge by Croatia.

Friday, 12 October 2018

Bosnian Serb Leader to Prevent Suit against Croatia over Pelješac Bridge

ZAGREB, October 12, 2018 - Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik, who on Sunday was elected the Serb representative on Bosnia and Herzegovina's three-member presidency, has said he will not green-light a possible lawsuit which Sarajevo might lodge with the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea against Croatia over the construction of Pelješac Bridge.

Friday, 12 October 2018

New York Times Reports on Chinese Interest in Peljesac Bridge Construction

October 11, 2018 - The New York Times reports on the project which looks set to finally join Croatia together after years of Dubrovnik and southern Dalmatia being separated from the rest of the country by Bosnia and Hercegovina's Neum Corridor, and the growing Chinese interest in the region. 

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Pelješac Bridge Will Be Built Despite Bosnia's Lawsuit Threat

ZAGREB, October 10, 2018 - The European Union institutions which have approved and are co-financing the construction of Pelješac Bridge say the project will be realised as planned, regardless of Bosnian official Željko Komšić's threats of a lawsuit against Croatia.

Saturday, 29 September 2018

Bosnian Minister Seeks Suspension of Pelješac Bridge Construction

ZAGREB, September 29, 2018 - Bosnia and Herzegovina's Civil Affairs Minister Adil Osmanović has asked the country's State Attorney to launch proceedings before the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea in Hamburg to stop the construction of the Pelješac Bridge by Croatia until an agreement on the sea border is reached and a corridor ensuring Bosnia and Herzegovina's unobstructed access to the open sea is established, local media reported on Saturday.

Friday, 21 September 2018

Railways, Tourism and Ports Interest Chinese Investors

''The economic and political relations with the country in which he wants to invest are taken into account by every Chinese investor.''

Saturday, 4 August 2018

Bosniak Leader Changes Mind about Pelješac Bridge

ZAGREB, August 4, 2018 - The chairman of Bosnia and Herzegovina's tripartite presidency Bakir Izetbegović said on Friday it was not his intention to stop the construction of the Pelješac Bridge but to secure a document that would guarantee his country unobstructed access to international waters in the Adriatic Sea.

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