Chinese ambassador says 17+1 summit new opportunity for cooperation

Ljubljana – China and Slovenia have had good relations in all fields. As Chinese Ambassador to Slovenia Wang Shunqing told the STA, a new opportunity to deepen the relations will be the 17+1 initiative summit in Beijing, which has been moved to the second half of the year due to the pandemic.

Photo: pixabay/geralt

In an interview conducted last weekend, Wang said that the exact date of the 17+1 summit was not known yet. When the date is known, the ambassador expects information about Slovenia’s participation.

China is the most important trade partner to Slovenia in Asia, and Slovenia is the most important partner to China in the Western Balkan region, he said. “It is true that Slovenia records a trade deficit with China, but the countries are striving to balance the trade,” Wang added.

According to the ambassador, China uses various platforms to promote Slovenian products. One of them is the China International Import Expo fair in Shanghai, where Slovenian companies get invited every year. The Chinese state and local authorities provide all necessary support for Slovenian investments in China, among which Wang singled out the investments by the ultralight aircraft maker Pipistrel.

As for Chinese investments in Slovenia, the ambassador noted the takeover of the household appliance maker Gorenje by Hisense two years ago. “The Hisense investment is currently the most important Chinese investment in Slovenia,” he said. The ambassador has been in constant touch with the management of Hisense Gorenje lately. It was explained to him that the lay-offs are a consequence of the new coronavirus pandemic, which has reduced orders considerably, and of a low efficiency in comparison to competitors in the industry, an issue Gorenje has been facing for quite a while.

Wang would like to see Chinese companies in general participate in projects in Slovenia. With four Chinese companies currently in play for the main construction work on the planned new railway line between the port of Koper and Divača, Wang would like to see one of them succeed in the tender. In his opinion “Chinese companies have a lot of experience in rail construction, as they have built them all around the world, they have well-developed technology and a lot of experience in construction of tunnels and in constructions in unpredictable terrain, such as karst.”

Wang also touched on the implementation of the fifth generation mobile network (5G) and the technology of the Chinese company Huawei. The Chinese ambassador hopes that Slovenia will take a decision on 5G based on its own interest and needs, while taking into account the costs and quality of the selected technology.

Wang admits that the coronavirus pandemic has eroded the relations between the EU and China, but he believes that problems can be bridged with cooperation. He sees potential for cooperation in the economic recovery measures presented by the EU. Wang stressed that the EU and China share similar ideas, especially when it comes to measures for combating climate change and protecting the environment. Countries must defeat the new coronavirus together and in solidarity, he said to conclude the interview.