Prague, May 19 (CTK) – The Czech business delegation that visited China along with President Milos Zeman in the past week included Josef Drebitko who has been trying to promote Zeman’s favourite idea of the Danube-Oder-Elbe water corridor, daily Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) writes Friday.

The rather unknown businessman Drebitko is a board member of the DOE Europe SE firm that offered to construct part of the Zeman-promoted waterway for Chinese finances. “Everything is ready. The Czech state would not have to pay anything, it would only monitor that all is as it should be,” the paper quotes Drebitko as saying some time ago.

The water corridor that would connect the Danube (Dunaj), Elbe (Labe) and Oder (Odra) rivers is to be part of the new Silk Road project according to Zeman. Last year, Zeman’s office said Chinese investors showed interest in the water corridor project.

The waterway would newly connect Austrian, Czech, Polish and Slovak territories. The construction would take place in the eastern part of the Czech Republic.

Within the project, a giant logistic centre was to be built in Hodonin, a Czech town at the Slovak border and close to the Austrian border, MfD writes.

Hodonin authorities agreed with the preliminary plan of building an industrial zone in the town two years ago and a meeting with the potential Chinese investors was held last year, but no further official negotiations between the town and DOE Europe have been held since then, Hodonin town hall spokesman Ivo Cencinger told the paper.

MfD challenged Drebitko’s participation in the Czech presidential visit to China due to this inactivity.

Another businessman whose participation the paper challenged is Jaroslav Masopust who represented a Czech firm dealing in Moldovan wines.

Masopust is close to Zeman and a senior member of the extra-parliamentary Party of Citizens Rights that organised Zeman’s presidential campaign. His business partner is Zdenek Zbytek, Zeman’s friend with controversial links to Russia.

The Czech Confederation of Industry said representatives of 28 firms accompanied Zeman in China.