On the morning of May 18, local time, Wu Bangguo, chairman of the Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress (NPC), who is on an official goodwill visit to Croatia, held talks with Croatian Parliament Speaker Boris Sprem in the parliament building.
Sprem first extended welcome for Chairman Wu Bangguo's visit on behalf of the Croatian parliament and people. He said that this visit not only reflects the high level of Croatia-China relations, but also will promote the development of bilateral relations to a new, higher level.
Wu said since China and Croatia established diplomatic relations 20 years ago, bilateral relations have maintained sustained and healthy development with the joint efforts of both sides. In particular, President Hu Jintao's successful visit to Croatia in 2009 injected strong impetus into the relationship. China-Croatia relationship enjoys a solid political foundation and the two sides have shown mutual understanding and firm support on issues concerning each other's core interests and major concerns. Both sides have maintained a good momentum of economic and trade cooperation and rapid growth of bilateral trade volume. Croatia has become China's largest trading partner in Southeast Europe. Both sides have also conducted active and fruitful exchanges in youth, language, education, tourism and other humanities areas and have become a good example of harmonious coexistence and mutually beneficial cooperation. China has always deemed Croatia as a reliable good friend and good partner in Southeast Europe and is ready to work with Croatia and take the opportunity of the 20th anniversary of diplomatic ties to consolidate political mutual trust, deepen pragmatic cooperation in various fields, and push forward the ties.
This is the first visit by a Chinese NPC Standing Committee chairman to Croatia within 12 years. An important objective of the visit is to enhance the level of parliamentary exchanges so that the parliament will become a constructive force for promoting the development of state relations. Wu Bangguo put forward three proposals on strengthening bilateral parliamentary cooperation. First, both sides should continue to maintain exchange of visits between parliamentary leaders and expand friendly exchanges between special committees, friendly groups and offices to enhance mutual understanding and consolidate political trust. The Chinese side welcomes Speaker Sprem and more Croatian parliament members to visit China. Second, the two sides should learn from each other on how to govern the state. Despite the differences in social and political systems, both countries are faced with the common task of developing economy, improving people's livelihood and promoting democracy and legal system and have accumulated unique experience in their own development practice. Both sides can hold in-depth exchanges and dialogue on topics of common interest and learn from each other to serve the domestic economic and social development. Third, both sides should promote pragmatic cooperation. Wu suggested the two legislative bodies play their due roles, modify and develop legal documents on bilateral cooperation and further promote economic, trade and investment facilitation. Both sides should supervise the implementation of cooperation consensus already reached, do more practical things for the expansion of business, local and cultural cooperation and constantly reinforce the material and public opinion basis of the ties.
Echoing Wu's comments on bilateral ties and his proposals on developing the ties and enhancing parliamentary cooperation, Sprem, for his part, said the Croatian government, parliament and political parties share a high level of consensus on developing ties with China. Croatia is satisfied with bilateral cooperation in the political, economic, inter-party, local and educational areas, and is willing to join hands with China to continue to deepen friendly cooperation in various fields and promote the comprehensive cooperative partnership. As a good friend of China, Croatia expresses profound admiration for China's vibrant economy in the context of the global financial crisis and appreciates the concept of building a harmonious world that the Chinese side put forward. Sprem also reiterated Croatia's firm adherence to the one-China policy.
Vice Chairman and Secretary-General of the NPC Standing Committee Li Jianguo and other Chinese accompanying officials, Deputy Parliament Speakers Josp Leko and Nenad Stazić, as well as heads of relevant special committees were present at the meeting.
On the morning of the same day, Wu's wife Zhang Ruizhen, accompanied by Speaker Sprem's wife, went to the Zagreb Children's Home to visit the children and staff there.
In the evening, Chairman Wu also attended a welcome banquet held by Speaker Sprem.