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Interview: Hu's visit to Slovakia to aid cooperation, former ambassador
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17:41, June 17, 2009

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Chinese President Hu Jintao's upcoming visit to Slovakia will boost cooperation between the two countries, a former Slovak ambassador to China said Tuesday.

"The visit...will bring new ideas for cooperation and it will confirm that relations between our two countries are on a very high level," Peter Paulen told Xinhua.

"I am very glad that our two countries are keeping a very high-level political dialogue," he said.

Paulen, who was Slovak ambassador in Beijing from 1998 to 2004, said his country and China have maintained friendly relations since the establishment of diplomatic relations 60 years ago.

Paulen said he was an eyewitness to the rapid development of the Chinese economy while living in Beijing.

"I also was very glad to see that relations between our two countries were developing very smoothly, mainly in the economic area," Paulen said. "Since that time, I was very glad that relations had never been frozen and on the contrary, we had new ideas and new areas for cooperation."

Paulen, now director of the Confucius Institute in Bratislava, said interest among Slovak students in the Chinese language and culture is growing.

"We learned that it's not sufficient to teach the Chinese language," he said. "Students are very much interested in everything concerning China: economic development, history, culture, music and Chinese films, which are very popular these days."

Since Slovakia joined the European Union four years ago, Slovaks have realized that China is one of the most important business partners for the EU and their country, Paulen said.

"The EU is one of the biggest investors and trading partners of China. We will have more frequent cultural exchanges and the studying of language is an important part," he said. "I think that's the reason why we can spread more information about China amongst people."

Hu is to pay state visits to Slovakia and Croatia on June 18-20 after attending the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit and the first meeting of BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) leaders in Yekaterinburg, Russia.

Source: Xinhua

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