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President Zeman to discuss mainly economic cooperation in China

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Prague, May 7 (CTK) – Economic cooperation is the main motive of Czech President Milos Zeman’s upcoming visit to China, and he will promote Prague’s participation in the Silk Road project in a speech he will give at a conference on it, Rudolf Jindrak, the Presidential Office’s foreign section head, has told CTK.

Zeman will depart for China on Thursday, May 11 and he will return on May 18.

In China, he will meet his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, and also Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the Silk Road summit.

Jindrak said he expects several trade agreements and memorandums to be signed during Zeman’s stay in China.

A two-day conference on the Silk Road will start on Sunday, May 14, with some 30 presidents or prime ministers attending.

According to Jindrak, the Chinese will want to use the opportunity to gain support for the project.

Zeman, who will be the highest representative among those from the EU in terms of the protocol, will give a speech in the conference’s opening part and eventually also within its two special panels.

“Their main message is that we would like to be a part of the Silk Road,” Jindrak said.

Prague would like to support bilaterally advantageous economic cooperation, for the Silk Road not to be a one-way road but a two-way one, Jindrak said in an allusion to the Czech imports from China prevailing over the exports.

Zeman is also scheduled to have bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the conference, mostly with an economic subtext, Jindrak said.

The Czechs are mainly interested in the completion of the projects that were presented during Xi Jinping’s visit to Prague last year.

“It is necessary to provide political backing to it. This is also why we are taking so strong a delegation of businesspeople with us, for China to know that these projects enjoy the top leadership’s support,” Jindrak said.

Several memorandums are to be signed after an half-hour Zeman-Xi meeting.

Apart from its economic effect, Zeman’s visit is also important for securing continuity of bilateral relations, Jindrak said.

“This also concerns countries such as Germany and other EU countries. We have achieved a certain level of bilateral relations and now it is important to maintain their intensity,” he added.

He said on his way to China, Zeman will be accompanied by a 90-strong delegation of businesspeople, including a representative of the Skoda Auto car maker.

Besides, Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek, Interior Minister Milan Chovanec, Health Minister Miloslav Ludvik, Industry and Trade Minister Jiri Havlicek (all Social Democrats, CSSD), Transport Minister Dan Tok and Regional Development Minister Karla Slechtova (both ANO) will accompany Zeman, as will Czech National Bank (CNB) Governor Jiri Rusnok.

The ministers will attend the talks with the Chinese president and they will also have programme and bilateral meetings of their own. Zaoralek said he is to meet his Chinese counterpart in Beijing.

Slechtova will give a speech at the Silk Road conference and later at a tourism seminar in Shanghai. She, too, will meet her Chinese counterpart, her spokeswoman Veronika Varosi has told media.

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