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Zeman to meet Xi Jinping again in China in May

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April 2 (CTK) – Czech President Milos Zeman will meet his counterpart Xi Jinping again during his visit to China in May, before attending a conference on the modern Silk Road project, Rudolf Jindrak, the new head of the Presidential Office’s foreign section, has told CTK.

Jindrak dismissed speculations about Zeman’s U.S. trip, scheduled for late April, being endangered.

He said diplomats are negotiating on the date and format of Zeman’s meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump, not on whether the meeting will take place.

In May, Zeman will visit China.

“It has been confirmed that a bilateral meeting [of Zeman] with the Chinese president will be held,” Jindrak said.

The two president are to meet at the beginning of Zeman’s visit. Afterwards, Zeman will take part in an international Silk Road conference of about 30 heads of states.

Zeman will also visit Shanghai and focus on further programme with prevailing economic agenda, Jindrak said.

Zeman’s Chinese trip is to last nine days, including 2.5 days he will spend travelling, Jindrak said.

The Presidential Office supposes a delegation of businesspeople to accompany Zeman to China. The delegation’s composition is being discussed now, Jindrak said.

Zeman previously said he will be accompanied by entrepreneur Petr Kellner, the richest Czech and owner of the PPF group, who also accompanied him to China in 2014.

At the time, Zeman returned home aboard a plane hired by the PPF and J&T groups instead of a government plane.

Zeman also met Xi Jinping during the latter’s visit to Prague last year.

A large delegation of businesspeople is also to accompany Zeman on his visit to Vietnam due in June.

During a stop over in Astana, Zeman will attend the opening of the Expo 2017 world exhibition.

“The delegation might consist of 120 people,” Jindrak said to illustrate the strong interest on the part of Czech businesspeople.

The visit to Vietnam will mainly focus on economic issues, also in connection with the strong Vietnamese community in the Czech Republic.

In May, Zeman will attend a NATO summit in Brussels linked with Trump’s first visit to Europe in his capacity as U.S. president.

Before, Zeman is to meet Trump in the USA later this month.

In recent weeks, media expressed doubts on whether the meeting is going to take place.

Jindrak dismissed any possibility of the Zeman-Trump meeting being endangered.

Not the meeting itself, but its date and format have been discussed, Jindrak said, adding that he considers German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s recent visit a good example to follow. First, she had a tete-a-tete meeting with Trump and then the talks were extended to involve other members of the delegations, Jindrak said.

Czech Finance Minister Andrej Babis, Defence Minister Martin Stropnicky (both ANO) and Interior Minister Milan Chovanec (Social Democrats, CSSD) have shown interest in accompanying Zeman to the USA.

Jindrak is a former deputy foreign minister and gradually served as the ambassador to Hungary, Austria and Germany. He was appointed the Presidential Office’s foreign department head in mid-March, replacing Hynek Kmonicek, who became ambassador to the USA.

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