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Remarks by H.E Ambassador Xu Erwen at the Video Conference on Celebrating the Closure of the Pelješac Bridge
2021-07-28 02:09

Dear distinguished guests,

Dear friends,

Good afternoon!

I'm very glad to meet you by video. First of all, on behalf of the Chinese Embassy in Croatia, I wish the upcoming closure of the Pelješac Bridge a great success and at the same time, I would like to extend my warmest greetings and express my heartfelt appreciation and tributeto all the construction workers and builders as well as friends from the cooperation units of the bridge and the connection line project!

Just now I listened to the briefing on the impending closure of the bridge and watched the video about the progress of the bridge. I was deeply moved and encouraged. The Pelješac Bridge project is the largest transportation infrastructure project undertaken by Chinese company in Croatia since the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Croatia. It is the first time for a Chinese company to win the bid and carry out a project funded by the European Union. It is also a flagship project of China-Croatia-Europe tripartite cooperation. Its completion is of great significance. It will realize the long-cherished wish of the Croatian people to connect the land of the north and south and give a strong boost to local economy and social development and people-to-people exchanges.

Leaders and people of our two countries have paid close attention to the progress of the bridge. Chinese Premier LiKeqiang visited the Bridge when he paid his official visit to Croatia and attended the 8th summit of the China-Central Eastern European countries in Dubrovnik.At the China-Central and Eastern European Countries Summit in February this year, President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Plenković both praised the Pelješac Bridge project in their speeches.PM Plenković and other Croatian leaders paid many visits and very much care about the progress of the project.

Since the beginning of last year, due to the COVID-19pandemic, the staff rotation and the shipment of the equipment and materials of the bridge project have been severely affected. In the face of these challenges, China Road and Bridge Corporation has overcome difficulties, focusing on both epidemic prevention and construction process, fulfilling its commitment to project quality, safety and environmental protection with high standards, overcoming the technical difficulties encountered in construction. Many colleagues delayed their shift due to the pandemic, but they remained at their posts with a high degree of conscientiousness and responsibility, minimized the impact of the pandemic, ensured the construction schedule, and insisted on high quality performance. The bridge is expectedbe closed two months ahead of schedule, which demonstrates the strong capability and good quality of integrity and compliance of Chinese enterprises.

In my exchanges with the state and local leaders and other friends from all walks of life in Croatia as well as from other countries, they all spoke highly of the construction technology, management, quality and progress of the bridge, and praised the Chinese workers for their superb skills, team spirit and diligence.They are regarded as the friendship messengers of the Chinese people towards people of Croatia and people of Europe. In addition, the bridge project department strictly complied with the local epidemic prevention regulations, carefully formulated epidemic prevention and security measures, effectively guaranteed the health and safety of hundreds of employees from both China and Croatia, maintained a good record of "zero infection", creating a miracle under the pandemic. The project department adheres to compliance management, respects local culture and customs, and maintains good relations with local government, people and partners. In the early days of the pandemic and after the earthquake, the staff of China Road and Bridge Cooperation volunteered to donate money and prevention supplies, which reflected the social responsibility of Chinese enterprises, demonstrated the good image of Chinese enterprises and further enhanced the friendship and affection between our two peoples.

The Pelješac Bridge project is not only an important milestone for Chinese companies to participate in Croatia's infrastructure construction, but also brings many new opportunities for Croatian and EU companies. The internationalization and localization of the project are obvious. Eight design consulting enterprises, 17 construction enterprises and 86 equipment and material suppliers and environmental protection enterprises from the European Union have participated in the project. The Croatian owners, supervisors and relevant government departments have also made positive contributions to the construction of the bridge. All these are good examples of the Belt and Road cooperation principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits advocated by President Xi Jinping. The bridge project has not only realized the concept of drawing on each other's strengths, mutual benefit and joint development, but also become a successful model of cooperation between China and Croatia, Between China and Central and Eastern European countries and between China, Croatia and the European Union.

Since the establishment of diplomatic ties 29 years ago, China and Croatia have continuously strengthened political mutual trust, frequent high-level visits and increasingly extensive and in-depth cooperation in various fields including economic and trade cooperation and people-to-people exchanges.China-Croatia comprehensive cooperative partnership has been continuously consolidated and developed. In the face of the pandemic, China and Croatia have joined hands to fight the outbreak, and bilateral friendly relations and cooperation have been further enhanced. China-Croatia economic cooperation has extended to infrastructure, new energy sources such as wind power and geothermal energy, electric vehicles, communications and information technology, port transportation, tourism, precision manufacturing, agriculture, health and financial cooperation, and other fields. Chinese investment in Croatia has also been on the rise, creating more than 1,100 local jobs, which reflects the concept of mutual benefit and joint development between China and Croatia. In late May of this year , Yang Jiechi, member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Director of the Office of the Central Foreign Affairs Commission, paid a successful visit to Croatia. He held friendly meetings with President Milanović, Speaker of the Parliament Jandroković and Prime Minister Plenković respectively. They had in-depth exchanges on strengthening China-Croatia and China-EU relations and promoting cooperation between China and Central and Eastern European countries and reached broad consensus, which added new impetus to the development of China-Croatia and China-EU relations.

Dear friends and Colleagues,

On July 1 this year, we just celebrated the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China(CPC). Over the past 100 years, under the leadership of the CPC, the Chinese nation has achieved great progress: it has stood up, grown rich, and become strong. In just a few decades, China has completed the process of industrialization and has become the world's second largest economy and the largest manufacturing country. China has completed the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects, historically solved the problem of absolute poverty and achieved our first centenary goal. We will continue our efforts to build China by the middle of this century, into a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic and culturally advanced.

China has always been a builder of world peace, a contributor to global development and a defender of the international order. China always holds high the banner of peace, development, cooperation and mutual benefit, promotes the common values of peace, development, fairness, justice, democracy and freedom for mankind. We pursue an independent foreign policy of peace, adhere to the road of peaceful development, adhere to the open and mutually beneficial and win-win cooperation, firmly oppose hegemony and power politics, and promote building new international relationships. We will promote building a community with a shared future for mankind, promote high-quality development of the Belt and Road initiative, and use China's new development to provide new opportunities for the world. China will have more all-round exchanges and cooperation with Croatia and other countries in the world.

Dear friends and colleagues,

Next year will mark the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Croatia. We are looking forward to further consolidate the development of bilateral friendly relations and cooperation with Croatia, promoting exchanges and cooperation in more fields, and strengthening infrastructure construction, scientific and technological innovation and the digital economy, green energy, agriculture, tourism, sports, cultural exchanges and cooperation in education, health care and other key areas. We believe that the successful completion of the Pelješac Bridge project will be a new starting point for China and Croatia to enhance mutual trust and promote bilateral cooperation.

The bridge closure marks the project has entered the final stage. At this important occasion, I would like to take this opportunity to put forward the following reminding points to my Chinese colleagues: First, China Road and Bridge Corporation should keep strengthening communication, consultation and cooperation with relevant Croatian government departments, owners and partners to ensure the bridge is completed with high quality and on schedule, which will deliver satisfactory results to the Croatian people and the people of Europe. Second, the project department should continue to do a good job of epidemic prevention and control on a regular basis, strictly examine safety risks, ensure the health of employees, and ensure the safe and smooth progress of the project construction as planned. Third, with the recent spread of the mutant virus in Europe, the project department should enhance its responsibility consciousness, adopt closed-loop management, and organize staff rotation well. The Embassy will do its best to support and assist.

The Chinese Embassy in Croatia has always been a strong supporter of our compatriots. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, the Embassy has actively supported China Road and Bridge Corporation in its epidemic prevention and safety work, assisted its staff rotation and helped our workers to get vaccinated under the "Spring Seedling Operation". In the future, the Chinese Embassy will continue to do its best to provide assistance and support for the bridge project, Chinese enterprises and Chinese people in Croatia. Once again, I would like to thank the relevant government departments and all walks of life of Croatia for their support and help to the construction of the bridge project, and thank the owner and supervision company of the bridge, and the leaders ofChina Road and Bridge Corporation for attending today's meeting. Let us join hands to advance China-Croatia relations in the post-pandemic era, promote the Belt and Road Initiative and China-CEEC cooperation, and make new contributions to the building of a community with a shared future for mankind. Good luck with the closure of the Pelješac Bridge and the construction of the bridge! I wish all of you good health and a happy life!

Thank you!

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