The Slovenia Times

PM: Slovenia will continue to cooperate with partners within 16+1


In his address, Cerar pointed out that Slovenia with its port in Koper was ready to assume an important role in developing the One Belt, One Road initiative whose goal is to better connect Asia and Europe.

He also stressed that Slovenia would continue to strive for close cooperation with all partners from the initiative and for joint interests, Cerar's office said in a press release.

Cerar also met Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang on the sidelines of the summit. Coming out of the meeting, Cerar tweeted that he and Li Keqiang had "confirmed the very good relations" between Slovenia and China.

Their talks focussed on ways to strengthen the economic cooperation and the political dialogue between the countries. They also discussed the opportunities offered by the 16+1 initiative.

He said the Chinese counterpart had highlighted the pharmaceutical industry, civil aviation, tourism and the One Belt, One Road initiative as the most promising areas.

China is Slovenia's most important trade partner in Asia. Trade between the countries exceeds EUR 1bn, which makes China the 12th most important Slovenia's trade partner.

Cooperation in tourism is also developing well. The number of Chinese tourists in Slovenia rose by 41% last year compared to 2016.

On the sidelines of the summit, the Ljubljana Faculty of Sport and the Beijing Sport University signed an agreement to strengthen cooperation and exchange experience in winter sports in the light of the Winter Olympic Games that China will host in 2022.

A business forum was also held alongside the summit featuring more than 1,500 participants from the 17 countries.

This was the seventh summit of the 16+1 initiative, which brings together Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Montenegro, Estonia, Croatia, Hungary, Macedonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and China.

The idea for the partnership came from China, which would like to further cooperation with Central and Eastern Europe in a number of fields, and the first summit was held in 2012.

Last year the summit was held in Budapest and before that the leaders met in Riga, Suzhou, Belgrade, Bucharest and Warsaw. Next year's summit is to be hosted by Croatia.


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