|Wu Bangguo Arrives in Zagreb, Kicking off His Visit to Croatia|
At the invitation of Croatian Parliament Speaker Boris Sprem, Wu Bangguo, chairman of the Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress (NPC), arrived in Zagreb, capital of Croatia, on May 17, kicking off an official goodwill visit to Croatia.
At about 6:00 p.m. local time, Chairman Wu's special plane landed at the Zagreb airport, where the national flags of the two countries flied in the wind. Chinese Ambassador to Croatia Shen Zhifei and senior Croatian officials went aboard to welcome Wu. Chairman Wu and his wife Zhang Ruizhen, and Vice Chairman and Secretary-General of the NPC Standing Committee Li Jianguo shook hands and exchanged greetings with Croatian Parliament Speaker Boris Sprem, Deputy Parliament Speaker Josp Leko, Croatian Ambassador to China Ante Simonic and other senior Croatian officials in front of the ladder. Parliament Speaker Sprem presented flowers to Wu's wife Zhang Ruizhen according to the local customs.
In his written speech delivered at the airport, Wu said China and Croatia are traditional friendly nations and the friendship between both peoples has a long history. Since the establishment of diplomatic ties 20 years ago, China and Croatia have witnessed smooth development of bilateral ties. Sino-Croatian relationship has opened a new chapter after the two countries set up comprehensive cooperative partnership in 2005 and Chinese President Hu Jintao paid a visit to the country in 2009, said Wu. Describing Croatia as a reliable friend and partner in Southeast Europe, Wu said China attaches great importance to traditional friendship between the two countries and will take the opportunity of the 20th anniversary of diplomatic ties to push forward bilateral comprehensive cooperative partnership in the spirit of mutual respect, equality and reciprocity.
Wu is scheduled to hold separate meetings with Croatian President Ivo Josipovic, Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic and Parliament Speaker Boris Sprem during his tour, exchanging views with them on bilateral ties, parliamentary exchanges and other issues of common concern. Wu will attend a reception marking the 20th anniversary of China-Croatia diplomatic ties and the opening ceremony of the Confucius Institute at the University of Zagreb, and inspect relevant enterprises in Croatia.
Wu left Amsterdam on the afternoon of May 17 local time after concluding his official goodwill visit to the Netherlands. Upon leaving Amsterdam, Wu was seen off at the airport by Ambassador of the Netherlands to China Rudolf Simon Bekink and other senior Dutch officials, Chinese Ambassador to the Netherlands and the staff of the embassy.