ZAGREB — Cooperation between China and Central and Eastern European countries (CEECs) has become prosperous and fruitful, Chinese Ambassador to Croatia Hu Zhaoming has said.
Hu made the remark in an interview with Xinhua ahead of Premier Li Keqiang’s Europe tour from April 8 through 12, which takes him to Brussels for the 21st China-European Union (EU) leaders’ meeting, and Croatia for an official visit and the eighth China-CEEC leaders’ meeting.
Hu noted that since the China-CEEC cooperation mechanism was launched in 2012, the trade volume between the two sides has increased more than 50 percent.
Over the past seven years, Chinese investment to the CEECs has increased over 300 percent, and Chinese tourist arrivals have skyrocketed by 600 percent, the ambassador said.
He stressed that the China-CEEC cooperation platform is designed especially for supporting the development of the relatively less developed European countries.
It is open, transparent and in line with the integration effort of the EU, said the ambassador, adding that it has become a new highlight in China-Europe interaction.
As regards China-Croatia relations, Hu said Premier Li will be the first Chinese premier to visit Croatia since the two countries established diplomatic ties 27 years ago.
The bilateral relationship is at its best period in history, with public support for bilateral cooperation growing ever strong and major cooperation projects making important progress, he added.
A survey released in March last year showed that some 89 percent of the respondents thought that relations between Croatia and China were friendly, 86 percent supported Chinese investments in Croatia, especially in areas of infrastructure, tourism and e-commerce, and 85 percent believed that China was a reliable cooperation partner.
Last year, about 240,000 tourists from Chinese mainland visited Croatia, up 46.7 percent from the previous year.
The ambassador said he is confident that as the two countries carry out the Year of Culture and Tourism program this year, people-to-people exchanges and cooperation will be elevated to a new level.