Belt and Road
FILE PHOTO: Journalists work outside the venue of a summit at the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, China, May 15, 2017. (Photo: REUTERS/Thomas Peter/File Photo)

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said on Wednesday that the country is now ready to upgrade the cooperation of the Belt and Road Initiative to the development strategies of Croatia. Premier Li made the remarks during their talks with Croatian Prime Minister Li Keqiang in Zagreb, the capital of Croatia. The Chinese premier arrived in Croatia after his two-day visit in Brussels on Tuesday.

Li commended the long-term friendship of the two nations. He said that China and Croatia enjoys a healthy and sound development in their bilateral relations since they have established their diplomatic ties. Li said that China's door is always open to Croatia.

The Chinese premier assured that China is ready to partner with Croatia in strengthening their partnership and continue their friendship that was based on mutual respect, equity, and mutual trust as they explore new dimensions for their bilateral relations and as they move ahead with their bilateral cooperation to a new phase.

Premier Li said that the Asian nation is ready to widen their mutually benefiting trade, increase the level of investments of the two sides, and purchase more Croatian products that suit the demand of the Chinese market. He also assured that the two nations will deepen their exchanges of culture and tourism.

According to Li, China will support its companies to participate in the construction of Croatian ports and railways in line with market principles.

Premier Li is scheduled on Thursday to inspect China's Paljesac Bridge project which was built in partnership with a Croatian company. The construction of the bridge was funded by the European Union and it was based on the European standards. A Chinese company won the contract to build the project. Li said that the Peljesac Bridge project is a model of tripartite cooperation among China, Croatia, and the EU, and realizes mutual benefits and win-win results.

According to the Croatian prime minister, the Peljesac Bridge is highly rated by the Croatian people and China is Croatia's important partner on infrastructure construction. He also said that Croatia is willing to further enhance cooperation with China in politics, economy, culture, tourism and port infrastructure.

Li appreciated the importance of the 16+1 cooperation mechanism in enhancing the cooperation between China and the 16 Central and Eastern European Countries. it also developed China's European integration process. He said that China appreciates Croatia's work on facilitating 16+1 cooperation and is ready to make joint efforts with Croatia toward a successful China-CEEC leaders' meeting.