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Chinese Foreign Minister visits Slovenia

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi was in Slovenia today for an official visit. Together with his host, Foreign Minister Dr Miro Cerar, they pleaded for enhanced political and economic cooperation.

Foreign Minister Dr Miro Cerar and his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi

Foreign Minister Dr Miro Cerar and his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi

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“As one of the largest global economies and a superpower holding a permanent seat on the UN Security Council, China is an indispensable partner for the European Union,” said Minister Cerar after the talks. He advocated enhancing bilateral dialogue within the 17+1 Initiative and as part of the EU-China dialogue.

“Our cooperation has been intensifying both at the political and economic levels, with China being Slovenia’s foremost Asian partner,” explained the Slovenian Foreign Minister. China ranks thirteenth among Slovenia’s foreign trade partners. Since 2013, bilateral trade has seen a 15 per cent annual rise, with the positive trend continuing in 2018, when the volume of trade amounted to EUR 1.3 billion. Minister Cerar informed his guests of Krka’s interest in registering medicinal products in China, and praised the location of the Port of Koper as one of the nearest gateways to Central and Eastern Europe for Chinese companies.

“Slovenia will endeavour for the Port of Koper to gain a prominent position within the Belt and Road Initiative,” he emphasised. He outlined his plans to visit China next year together with an expert business delegation comprising representatives of Slovenian scientific institutions, with the aim of organising a Chinese-Slovenian Day of Science and Innovation.

“As one of the thirty most innovative countries in the world, Slovenia would also like to strengthen collaboration in the fields of innovation and artificial intelligence,” said Minister Cerar, noting the establishment of an UNESCO-sponsored international research centre for AI at the Ljubljana Jožef Stefan Institute.

“China is one of Europe’s key partners in implementing climate commitments: We are fighting the same battle. In this context, I would like to point out that Slovenia will bring the circular economy to the forefront of its 2021 EU Council Presidency,” underlined the Minister 

“On certain issues, the EU’s and China’s positions and standards diverge. Through respectful and frank dialogue, we must seek common points of cooperation, bring constructive relations to the next level, and show respect for each other,” he concluded.

The two ministers also discussed cooperation within the 17+1 Initiative, whose next summit is to be held in Beijing next year. As part of the Initiative, Slovenia is willing to take over its Coordination Mechanism for Winter Sports. Since Beijing will be the host of the 2022 Winter Olympics, both sides are interested in cooperating in these sports disciplines.

The two counterparts also spoke in favour of strengthening multilateralism and the rule of law. Tomorrow, they will both attend the ASEM Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Madrid held under the title Asia & Europe - Together for Effective Multilateralism.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi will also call on President Borut Pahor, on President of the National Assembly Dejan Židan, and on Prime Minister Marjan Šarec.