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Remarks by Ambassador Xu Erwen at the Luncheon for Croatian Local Leaders
2019/10/31

Respected Croatian Prefects and Mayors,

Respected Senior Economic Advisor to Croatian Prime Minister,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Dobra dan!

It is my pleasure and honour to host this luncheon today at our embassy in honour of Croatian prefects, mayors and senior economic advisor to Croatian Prime Minister. First of all, I would like to extend my warmest welcome to you on behalf of our embassy. I want to express my appreciation to all the friends present here today for your support to the development of China and Croatia relationship and for your interest in China.

I am very pleased to know that many of you are going to visit China soon but most of you have never been to China before. Last week, I talked about China and Croatia relationship and China with some prefects who are going to China as well. Before you kick off your visit to China, I would like to take this precious opportunity to give you a briefing about China and the opportunities we are faced in our bilateral relationship and cooperation as well.

This year is the 27th anniversary of the establishment of China and Croatia diplomatic relationship. Over the past 27 years China-Croatia bilateral relationship based on mutual respect, equality and benefit has maintained strong momentum. Our political mutual trust and traditional friendship have been greatly strengthened and the Comprehensive Cooperative Partnership significantly deepened. Both countries have enjoyed frequent high-level exchanges of visits. Last year, Prime Minister Mr. Andrej Plenkovic paid a successful official visit to China for the 1st China International Import Expo. This April, Premier Li Keqiang visited Croatia and attended the 8th Summit of Heads of Government of China and Central and Eastern European Countries, which upgraded the relationship into a new level. Now this relationship has entered one of the best period in history and our friendship is diamond-like.

The economic cooperation between our two countries has been growing quickly. Last year, the bilateral trade reached close to 1 billion Euro, with an increase of 16.2%. The Peljesac Bridge being built by China Road and Bridge Corporation, marks a historic breakthrough in the cooperation between our two countries, and also creates a model of trilateral cooperation among China, Croatia and EU. This April, Huawei signed two memorandums of understanding with Croatian Central State Office for Digital Society Development. In addition, China Camel Group invested in Rimac, China Norinco International invested in Senj wind power project, which is the largest wind power project in Croatia, all of which are important elements of economic and trade cooperation between our two countries.

The story of bilateral people-to-people exchange is writing a new chapter. In 2018, the number of visitors from China to Croatia reached around 240,000, with a more than 40% year-on-year growth. This year this figure will hit a new high. Croatia is becoming one of the most popular destinations among Central and Eastern European countries for Chinese tourists. This year is also China and Croatia Year of Culture and Tourism with a series of wonderful events and activities, which provided various platforms for closer people-to-people ties between our two countries.

Local cooperation has always been an important part of China-Croatia relations, a vital growth point for the two countries’ pragmatic cooperation, as well as a significant platform for the people of both sides to enhance understanding and friendship. We have two important platforms for our cooperation. One is Belt and Road Initiative and the other is “17+1 Cooperation”. Belt and Road Initiative is a road of connectivity of trade, infrastructure, financing, policy and people to people. “17+1 Cooperation” is a platform for the economic cooperation based on joint consultation, joint contribution and win-win cooperation.

Although China and Croatia are not exactly on the same phase of development, not to mention the bigger differences in various regions, our two countries have a lot to offer each other economically. China and Croatia have great potential for cooperation in infrastructure, clean energy, agriculture, culture, education, sports, tourism, health, digitalization and so on. I believe the counties and cities of Croatia will benefit from the cooperation with China. It’s my sincere hope that the local levels of our two countries will start from small things and start from today, to strengthen mutual communication, promote pragmatic cooperation, to jointly achieve innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development and to contribute to a more fruitful China-Croatia Comprehensive Cooperative Partnership.

Ladies and gentlemen,

As you all know, we just celebrated the 70th Anniversary of the Founding of the People’s Republic of China. The past seven decades have witnessed China’s historical transformation. Once a weak and poor nation scarred by humiliation from foreign aggression, wars and chaos has become the world second largest economy, the largest manufacturer with the most complete category, the largest trader of goods, the major trading partner with more than 130 countries, the second largest consumer, the largest foreign exchange reserves, and the second largest recipient of foreign direct investment. We have lifted over 800 million people out of poverty, contributing over 70 percent to the global poverty reduction.

China is a country with a population of close to 1.4 billion , a land of 9.6 million square kilometres and an uninterrupted civilization of more than 5000 years. It is a country with 23 provinces including Taiwan, 4 municipalities, 5 autonomous regions including Xinjiang and Tibet as well as 2 special administrative regions (SAR) - Hong Kong and Macau.

Hong Kong retuned to the embrace of motherland in 1997. We have been carrying out One Country Two Systems policy in HK and this policy has been effective and HK has been enjoying the financial centre of the world. Over the past several months, the demonstration in HK escalated into criminal violence and chaos which caused severe damages to the innocent people and properties, encouraged by some outside anti-China forces, using the name of so called freedom of speech and demonstration. The central government supports HK SAR to take measures to restore law and order to defend the safety of the people and economic prosperity of HK.

Xinjiang is the largest autonomous region in China. Over the past 20 years, many terrorist attacks happened in Xinjiang and some other areas in China by the separatist extremists which caused many innocent people’s lives and damages to the stability of the society. So Xinjiang government has adopted some measures including setting up some training centres to fight against the terrorist, extremists and those pre-emptive measures are very effective. For the past 3 years, no terrorist acts happened there. More than 1000 journalists and diplomats have visited Xinjiang and seen by themselves and they speak highly of those measures. But in disregard to all the facts, some countries and some people accuse China using so called human rights, which we strongly oppose.

Taiwan is inalienable part of China. We adhere to One-China principle and combat and contain any separatist forces. The complete unification of China is inevitable and no one can stop.

China has been resolute in its resolve to uphold its sovereignty, security and core interests. We strongly oppose outside interference of our internal affairs and strongly oppose those people who are against China under the camouflage of human rights, freedom of speech or freedom of demonstration etc. and using double standard to reach their own political purposes. Now China is faced with more bright prospect than ever before to realize the dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

Along the way, China has not only taken a huge leap in its own development, but also made significant contribution to the world. China contributed to over 30 percent of global growth every year on average.which is combined total of US, Japan and Europe. China is already the second largest funding contributor to United Nations and United Nations peacekeeping operations. China has been a builder of world peace, contributor of the world growth and defender of the world order.

The past 7 decade’s miracle of the PRC has not been given by someone but achieved by the hardworking and innovative Chinese people under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC). China stays true to the founding mission of CPC, uphold the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics and be guided by a people-centered development philosophy. In this process, we have taken a realistic and pragmatic approach. We are confident in our path, theory, system and culture, because we believe this is a right path that fits our conditions and is in keeping with the trend of the times. And we will steadily forge ahead along this path.

Now, China is in very important period of another round of reform and opening-up and pushes forward its economy towards high quality development and structural reform. I am pleased to inform you that the 2nd China International Import Expo will take place in Shanghai soon and will be an annual event in the future. Our economic performance and fundamentals are sound and stable with strong resilience and great potential. Our economy grew at 6.2% year-on-year in the first three quarters of this year. China’s door will not be closed but open wider to outside world. China will continue to promote opening-up across the board, advance international cooperation on the Belt and Road Initiative, upgrade an open world economy, and work for a new type of international relations based on mutual respect, equity, justice and win-win cooperation and work together with other countries to build a community of a shared future for mankind featuring long-lasting peace, universal security, common prosperity, open and inclusiveness, as well as clean and beautiful world. China remains unshakable in its resolve to pursue peaceful development. China’s development is an opportunity for the world. We welcome the people of the other countries including Croatia aboard the express train of China’s development and sincerely wish all of them a better future.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Finally, I wish you all the best for your trip to China!

Thank you!

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