Chinese President Xi Jinping (R front) arrives at the airport in Prague, Czech Republic, March 28, 2016. Xi started a three-day state visit to the Czech Republic from Monday. (Xinhua/Lan Hongguang)
PRAGUE, March 28 -- Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived here Monday to start a three-day state visit to the Czech Republic, as China seeks closer China-Czech ties and stronger relations with Central and Eastern Europe (CEE).
It is the first state visit by a Chinese president in 67 years since the two countries established diplomatic ties, which is also Xi's maiden visit to the CEE region since he assumed presidency in 2013 and his first trip to Europe this year.
HAILING BILATERAL TIES
The Czech Republic sent two fighter jets to escort Xi's plane when it entered the country's airspace. Xi was received by Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek and other senior officials at the airport.
Hailing the long-held friendship between the two countries, Xi, in his written remarks upon arrival, extended sincere greetings and best wishes to the Czech people.
Noting that the Czech Republic has become an important partner for China in the CEE region and a good friend in the European Union (EU), Xi said that bilateral ties are currently advancing on a fast track with vigorous cooperation in various sectors.
The two countries have launched sound cooperation under the framework of China-CEE cooperation, which is playing a crucial role in promoting China-Europe ties, he said.
The Chinese president said he looks forward to widely engaging with Czech President Milos Zeman and other Czech leaders and exchanging views with them in an in-depth way, so as to deepen the traditional friendship between the two peoples, strengthen the political mutual trust and expand practical cooperation between the two countries.