Chinese president to visit Prague for first time in history

Prague, Feb 13 (CTK) – Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit the Czech Republic in March as the first Chinese head of state in history, daily Lidove noviny (LN) wrote on Saturday, referring to President Milos Zeman’s spokesman Jiri Ovcacek.

“It will be a significant event and its programme will reflect it,” Ovcacek told LN.

The Czech Republic will be the only European destination where Xi Jinping is to stop in the latter half of March. He will leave Prague for the United States then, LN writes.

“It will be the first visit by the Chinese head of state in the history of our independent national existence. The visit is connected with a rising interest of the People’s Republic of China in the Central European region and market,” Presidential Office foreign section head Hynek Kmonicek said.

He added that in the past, only the Chinese PM had paid a visit to the country under the communist regime.

The visit by Xi Jinping, who is also the general secretary of the Communist Party of China’s central committee and chairman of the influential Central Military Commission, was agreed on by Zeman when he was visiting Beijing last autumn.

The event will be organised by the Presidential Office, LN says.

The upcoming visit by the Chinese president has stimulated Czech-Chinese business. Czech businesspeople believe that some projects that were outlined last autumn might be completed, for instance, the purchase of 30 percent in the J&T Finance Group in which the Chinese CEFC group is interested.

Its representatives, headed by lobbyist Jaroslav Tvrdik, are now also tuning up the purchase of a share in the Medea Group company and the Empresa Media concern.

According to behind-the-scenes information, Chinese investors might also be interested in the O2 Czech Republic mobile operator and the Chinese Internet shop Alibaba in entering the Czech Internet shopping server.

Apart from business deals, Czech and Chinese representatives will also deal with ice hockey. Beijing will host the 2022 Winter Olympics and the Chinese would like Czechs to teach them hockey skills by then.

The 16-member Chinese ice-hockey team will arrive in the Czech Republic on March 23 within the president’s visit and hockey coach Slavomir Lener will train the Chinese players during a ten-day stay, Czech Olympic Committee President Jiri Kejval told LN.

Another important area of the Czech-Chinese cooperation will be science and research, Kmonicek said.