Chinese President Hu Jintao held talks with his Croatian counterpart Stjepan Mesic here Saturday and they exchanged views on bilateral relations.
Speaking highly of the longstanding friendship between the two countries, Hu noted in particular the smooth growth of bilateral relations since Croatia gained independence 17 years ago.
The Chinese side is willing to consolidate the traditional friendship, enhance pragmatic cooperation, expand humanistic exchanges, and strive to push the China-Croatia comprehensive partnership of cooperation to a higher level, Hu said.
The Sino-Croatian relationship can be a model for countries with different cultures and social systems to respect each other, co-exist in harmony and conduct win-win cooperation, said President Hu.
He said China treasures the bilateral traditional friendship, gives priority to developing its relations with Croatia and take Croatia as its trustworthy friend and partner in Southeast Europe.
Chinese President Hu Jintao (L) shakes hands with his Croatian counterpart Stjepan Mesic during their meeting in Zagreb, capital of Croatia, June 20, 2009. (Xinhua/Yao Dawei)
Noting that the two countries are both at a crucial moment for development, Hu said they should, on the basis of mutual respect, equality, mutual benefit, and non-interference in each other's internal affairs, seize the opportunity and join efforts to push their partnership to a higher level and expand cooperation areas.
In this regard, the Chinese president made a four-point proposal for the further development of bilateral ties.
Firstly, friendly exchanges should be consolidated and bilateral mutual political trust be enhanced, Hu said.
China and Croatia should maintain high-level contacts, expand dialogues and exchanges between the two governments, legislative bodies and political parties, understand and support each other's major concerns so as to cement the political foundation of bilateral relations.
Second, both sides should enhance economic and trade cooperation and strive for mutually beneficial and win-win results, Hu said.
In responding to the impact of the international financial crisis, the two countries should actively explore new areas and different forms of economic and trade cooperation in pursuit of a new growth point.
The guiding role of the intergovernmental commission on this cooperation should be brought into full play and more consultation and coordination be encouraged, said Hu.
The Chinese government encourages enterprises from China to invest in Croatia in such fields as airport and port construction, telecommunication, pharmacy and shipbuilding, Hu said, adding that Croatian enterprises are welcome to explore the Chinese market in a bid to achieve a balanced growth in two-way trade.
Third, exchanges between the two peoples should be expanded to promote a closer friendship, said President Hu.
The Chinese side invites 50 Croatian young people to visit China next year, he added.
Fourth, there should be strengthened communication and cooperation between the two countries in the United Nations and other multilateral organizations.
Both sides should conduct a timely exchange of views on major international issues of common concern, including UN reform, climate change, sustainable development and international efforts to fight terrorism so as to make joint contributions to world peace, stability and prosperity.
To develop friendly cooperation with Southeast European countries constitutes an important part of China's policy on Europe, Hu said.
The Chinese side has always respected the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries in the region, respected the development paths selected by the peoples of these countries, and understood their efforts to integrate themselves into Europe, said Hu.
Hailing the major progress Croatia has made in its entry into the European Union, Hu said he believes that the move will bring new opportunities for all Southeast European countries including Croatia.
It also will open new room for the development of relations between China and these countries, he added.
Mesic said Croatia is ready to serve as a gate for China into East Europe, and will strengthen coordination with China on issues including the combat against the international financial crisis and the reform of international financial systems.
Croatia hopes to enhance bilateral economic and trade cooperation, especially in the fields of science, technology, infrastructure, pharmacy, electronics and agriculture, he said.
It also will create conditions to attract more Chinese investment, establish cooperative relations with different localities of China and welcome more Chinese tourists, said Mesic.
Croatia firmly adheres to the one-China policy, he said.
After their talks, the two leaders attended a signing ceremony for bilateral cooperative documents.
Hu arrived here on Friday for a state visit, the first to Croatia by a Chinese head of state since the two countries established diplomatic ties 17 years ago.
Croatia is the last leg of Hu's three-nation tour, which has already taken him to Russia and Slovakia.
Earlier this week, Hu attended an annual summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and a summit of BRIC countries -- Brazil, Russia, India and China in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg. Source: Xinhua