President Hu Jintao confirmed after his two day visit to Croatia that economic cooperation between China and Croatia is intensely developing, that Croatia is an important partner to China in southeast Europe, and that there are plenty of additional opportunities to further intensify cooperation.
President Hu came to Zagreb as the first Chinese President since Croatia declared its independence, and he participated, alongside his host President Mesić, at the opening of the Economic Forum where he was accompanied by 220 Chinese business people.
The President of China said that “although China and Croatia are separated by mountains and rivers, the friendship of our two countries has historic roots.” China and Croatia have established diplomatic relations 17 years ago. Since then, bilateral ties grew rapidly and Croatia became China’s leading trade partner in southeast Europe, but according to President Hu “overall trade is relatively low and there is plenty of potential to increase it.”
Chinese President stated that developing relations with Croatia and other countries from the Balkans is an important segment of Chinese policy toward Europe.
Nadan Vidošević, president of the Croatian Chamber of Economy, said that “Croatia needs Chinese investments, and Croatia is without a doubt the best partner for China in this part of Europe and its capital investments.” President Mesić invited Chinese business people to invest in infrastructure and mentioned the reconstruction of Zagreb Airport and harbor Ploče.
President Hu also met with Croatian Prime minister Ivo Sanader and Speaker of the Parliament Luka Bebić on Saturday. Prime minister Sanader said after the meeting that the visit of President Hu to Croatia is a crucial stimulus for business people to intensify mutual cooperation, and Bebić released a statement saying that the meeting was used to discuss overall bilateral relations and the expansion of cooperation, primarily parliamentary and economic ones.
The visit which was concluded on Saturday with the departure of President Hu from Zagreb was marked with strict security measures due to which the center of the city way desolate. The visit to Croatia concluded a tour of three countries. President Hu first attended the annual summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the first so called BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) summit in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg, while he visited Slovakia prior to coming to Croatia.