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Remarks by Ambassador Xu Erwen at the Tripartite Video Conference of the Mayor of Čakovec, Mayor of Yancheng, Jiangsu Province and Chinese Embassy in Croatia

Mr. Kovač, Member of the Croatian Parliament and mayor of Čakovec,

Mr. Cao Lubao, Mayor of Yancheng city, Jiangsu Province,

Mr. Maravec, Chairman of Croatia's Maring d.o.o,

Dear Friends from Čakovec and Yancheng, Ladies and gentlemen,

Good morning everyone!

It is my great pleasure to attend the tripartite video conference of Mayor of Čakovec, Mayor of Yancheng, Jiangsu Province and Chinese Embassy in Croatia. It is my honor to have the opportunity to meet you all and participate in Yancheng's donation activity of medical masks to Čakovec. First of all, on behalf of the Chinese Embassy in Croatia, I would like to extend our warm greetings to all of you, as well as congratulations and thanks. Through hard work, the COVID-19 epidemic in China has been effectively brought under control. For days, the numbers of new cases of COVID-19 in Croatia have been contained in zero or single digits. My colleagues in the Embassy and I are proud of the strategic and important achievements made by our country in the fight against the epidemic. We also congratulate Croatia on its outstanding achievements in the fight against the epidemic. We thank the two cities of Čakovec and Yancheng for their active efforts and contributions to the fight against the virus. Just now, Mayor Kovač said that the medical masks donated by the Yancheng city will be used for the students from primary and secondary schools in Čakovec, which will pass on the friendship between the Chinese and Croatian people from generation to generation. Thank all of you for your great contributions to the development of China-Croatia relations.

In the joint fight against the epidemic, China and Croatia have always stood side by side with each other, supported and helped each other through thick and thin. As Chinese President Xi Jinping stressed in his speech at Virtual Event of Opening of the 73rd World Health Assembly, solidarity and cooperation is our most powerful weapon for defeating the virus. At the critical moment when the Chinese people were fighting the epidemic, the Croatian Government and people from all walks of life supported China. Croatian senior political leaders such as then-President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and Speaker of Parliament Gordan Jandroković, as well as former President Stjepan Mesić, former President Ivo Josipović, provincial prefects and mayors have expressed sympathy and support to China. Croatian people from all walks of life have sent donations, letters and videos to support China, sending love, confidence and strength to the Chinese people.

After the COVID-19 outbreak in Croatia, China immediately expressed our sympathy and support to the Government and people at all levels in Croatia. On 27 March this year, Premier Li Keqiang had a telephone conversation with Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, which demonstrated the firm determination of China and Croatia to jointly fight against the epidemic and overcome the difficulties, adding new impetus to the all-round development of bilateral relations. So far, China has held two video conferences of COVID-19 epidemic prevention and control with health ministers and experts from 17 Central and Eastern European Countries (CEECs) (“17+1 cooperation”), sharing and communicating experience and information on epidemic prevention and control, and giving details of China's anti-epidemic measures and timely communication and cooperation with the international community in an open, transparent and responsible manner. The Chinese Embassy in Croatia immediately informed the Croatian side of China's prevention, control and treatment plans and shared the knowledge base with the Croatian side. We hope that the experience we have gained through blood and sweat will provide references for other countries, including Croatia, in fighting the epidemic.

At the same time, Chinese medical supplies and support have also arrived in Croatia in time. From March 31, more than a month of time, there have been seven flights of China Eastern airline and SF-EXPRESS charter flights carrying medical supplies from Shanghai to Zagreb, not only protective suits, surgical masks, medical gloves and other anti-epidemic materials provided by the Chinese Government to Croatia, but also medical supplies that China has assisted Croatia in purchasing, as well as China's local governments, businesses and individuals’ donation to the Croatian people. From the aspects of enterprises, China Road and Bridge Company, Alibaba, Huawei, China Aoyuan property group, CIMM group, BGI group, Hikvision, China North Industries and other Chinese companies have donated money and surgical masks, detection kits and other medical supplies which arrived successively, and made contributions to the fighting of epidemic in Croatia. Local governments in China have also joined in the fight against the epidemic. Supplies from Shanghai, Jiangsu, Hainan, Zhejiang, Sichuan and Chongqing have arrived in Croatia in succession. The medical masks donated by Yancheng city, Jiangsu province to Čakovec city is a good example. All these fully demonstrated the friendship of the two peoples and determination and confidence in solidarity and cooperation.

Since the establishment of the diplomatic relationship 28 years ago and the establishment of Comprehensive Cooperative Partnership 15 years ago, China and Croatia have witnessed increasing political mutual trust, robust economic and trade cooperation and vigorous development of cultural exchanges. Over the years, bilateral relations between two countries have been constantly promoted and developed on the basis of mutual respect, treating each other as equals and win-win cooperation. I would like to take this opportunity to thank friends from all walks of life in Croatia, including Čakovec, for their understanding and support of China-Croatia relations and on issues concerning China's core interests and major concerns such as Taiwan, Hong Kong and Xinjiang. The 3rd Session of the 13th National People's Congress (NPC) and the 3rd Session of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) have just concluded in Beijing. NPC’s decision to establish and improve at the national level a legal system and enforcement mechanisms for safeguarding national security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, in accordance with the Constitution and the Basic Law of Hong Kong, is targeting a very small number of acts that seriously endanger national security. It does not affect Hong Kong as a high degree of autonomy, does not affect the legal rights and freedom of Hong Kong residents, does not affect the rights and interests of foreign investors in Hong Kong, but will only make a more complete legal system in Hong Kong, a more stable social order, which is conducive to the maintenance of "one country, two systems", Hong Kong's long-term prosperity and stability. We welcome friends from all over the world, including Croatia, to continue to invest and do business in Hong Kong and develop economic, trade and cultural exchanges.

It is high time for China and Croatia to strengthen cooperation which facing huge development opportunities both at the state and local level. Croatia is a fulcrum country of Belt and Road Cooperation and an important member of "17+1 cooperation" between China and CEECs. It has a sound economic foundation, a favorable geographical location and traditional friendship with China. Croatia has a good industrial development foundation, high quality labor force, low cost and low land price, which makes it attractive for Chinese enterprises. Croatia is a member state of the European Union, with Croatia as the manufacturing base, which is conducive to access to the EU market. The financial and technological resources of Chinese companies can help Croatia develop its manufacturing sector and retain local talent. For example, the development of new energy vehicles is in line with the European concept of green and sustainable development, as well as China's five development concepts of innovation, coordination, green, openness and shared development and Croatia's development strategic goals.

Čakovec and Yancheng have great relations with huge potential for cooperation. Both cities are well located. Yancheng is located in the central coastal region of China, facing South Korea and Japan across the sea and close to Shanghai. It is an important member of the Yangtze River Delta city cluster and one of the newly rising cities in China's new round of reform and opening up. The city of Čakovec is close to Slovenia, Hungary and Austria, as well as Zagreb, the capital of Croatia. With its convenient transportation and industrial base, Čakovec is one of the important gateways to develop high-end manufacturing and enter the European Union. In recent years, Čakovec city and Yancheng city have had frequent exchanges of views on practical cooperation. The Maring d.o.o, based in Čakovec city, intends to cooperate with Jiangsu Guoxin New Energy Passenger Vehicle Co., LTD. New energy cooperation is one of the key areas of cooperation between China and Croatia. Both cities have a strong intention of cooperation and have the basis for expanding cooperation.

It is hoped that the two sides, including Čakovec and Yancheng, will actively explore potentials, seize opportunities, strengthen exchanges, make full use of the "17+1 cooperation" platform, participate in cooperation in agriculture, manufacturing, tourism and sports, push for tangible results of cooperation projects between enterprises of the two sides and promote the development of bilateral relations. It is believed that the companies of the two sides will rule out the impact of the epidemic and actively carry out communication and consultation including online communication. The Chinese Embassy will also continue to offer assistance to relevant government departments and enterprises of China and Croatia to help our local governments and enterprises "Go Global". We will make joint efforts to promote the implementation of more projects. The two sides will further advance the Belt and Road Initiative and economic, trade and cultural exchanges and cooperation under the "17+1" framework, and achieve more practical results. China is also ready to strengthen epidemic prevention and control as well as exchanges and cooperation in various fields with Croatian provinces and cities including Čakovec. As long as we are confident, face up to challenges and work together, we will be able to win the global battle against the epidemic and build a global community of health with shared future for all.

Thank you all!

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