Hu: 2018 a big year in the pragmatic Croatian-Chinese cooperation
Author: CSEBA / Xinhua
7th March 2018
ZAGREB - The Croatian people regard China as a friendly country to cooperate with and a major force in the world whose influence will continue to grow, showed a survey published in the Croatian daily Jutarnji list.

The survey, conducted by leading market research institute GfK in mid-February at the request of the Chinese Embassy in Zagreb, was based on telephone and online interviews with 1,000 Croatian adults from all walks of life.

Some 89 percent of respondents think that relations between Croatia and China are friendly, and most of the respondents support Chinese investments in Croatia, especially in areas of infrastructure, tourism and e-commerce.

Croatian-Chinese cooperation has been considerably strengthened, resulting in an annual trade volume of 1.2 billion U.S. dollars in 2016, increasing more than 30 times over the past 25 years.

According to the survey, Germany and China will be the most important Croatian partners in the future and 85 percent of the Croats believe that China is a reliable cooperation partner.

Among the respondents, 68 percent think that China plays a major role on the world stage, bigger than ever before, while 90 percent of them believe that China's impact in the globalized world will grow even further in the future.

Chinese ambassador to Croatia Hu Zhaoming, who took office a year ago, is "pleasantly surprised" by the survey.

"I have been very happy to see the positive attitude of the Croatian people towards China ... they support the strengthening of bilateral relations," the ambassador wrote in a column on Tuesday's JutarnjiLIST.

According to his words, the first-ever public opinion survey on bilateral relations in the history of China-Croatia ties has also exposed some weak points, with inadequate knowledge about China being one of them.

"So far, only three percent of Croatian citizens have visited China and their knowledge of our country is not up to date," he said, "It is not recent, but rather goes back 20 or 30 years in the past."

"They are fascinated with Chinese martial arts, they enjoy Chinese food but few of them know about the Bird's Nest -- the stadium built for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the high-speed bullet trains or the WeChat messaging app ... a new way of life," said the ambassador.

He is encouraged by the fact that Croatians' interest in China is on the rise and that 86 percent of the respondents expressed a wish to visit China.

"We have heard the voice of the Croatian people ... The Chinese embassy here has some new plans for improving relations between the two countries," Hu said, declaring 2018 as "a big year in the pragmatic Croatian-Chinese cooperation."

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