Farm-turned industrial park fuels China-Slovakia cooperation
Bratislava [Slovakia], May 28: The Chinese ambassador to Slovakia and local guests have shared stories about the Zhongjie Friendship Farm founded over 60 years ago, expecting the exemplar of friendship and cooperation to play bigger role in promoting China-Slovakia cooperation.
Sino-Czechoslovakia is shortened to "Zhongjie" in Chinese. At a reception hosted by the Chinese Embassy in Slovakia on Thursday evening to commemorate the founding of the Friendship Farm and promote cooperation between the two countries, Chinese Ambassador to Slovakia Sun Lijie shared the story of the farm with the guests attending the reception.
According to Ambassador Sun, the Friendship Farm located in Cangzhou, China's Hebei Province, was named by late Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai. It was founded with the help of some 670 sets of agricultural machinery that the former Czechoslovak Republic gifted China in 1956.
Former Slovak Ambassador to China Dusan Bella said there is no better place than the Friendship Farm to demonstrate the long-term friendship and cooperation between his country and China.
Bella had made multiple visits to the Friendship Farm during his tenure in China from 2017 to 2022. After his first visit to the farm in March 2017, he also showed many Slovak delegations around the place.
Referring to a museum displaying how the experts from then country of Czechoslovakia taught the Chinese farmers about the machinery, he said that part of history "is not available" nowadays in the Slovak Republic or the Czech Republic. "And this is which touched me very deeply," he added.
Today, the Friendship Farm serves as a bridge for exchanges and cooperation between China and Slovakia, as well as a channel of China's cooperation with the Central and Eastern European Countries (CEECs), Sun said.
Over the past decades, the farm has expanded and upgraded. In 2013, it was turned into the Zhongjie Industrial Park (ZIP). Five years later the China-CEEC Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Cooperation Zone was established in the park.
The cooperation zone has facilitated 59 cooperation projects with a total investment of 15.44 billion yuan (around 2.2 billion U.S. dollars). Based on bilateral cooperation related to the zone, Cangzou has built sister city relationship with 10 CEE cities and established Heibei-CEE Universities Alliance to boost education cooperation, according to Sun Xirang, director of the cooperation zone's Administrative Committee.
Karol Sebo is the marketing manager of Slovakia's Shebo Winery, which founded the Zhongjie Nitra Winery in the ZIP. Recalling his recent trip to attend the China-CEEC expo held in Chinese city Ningbo, he said his company was satisfied to sustain the level of orders they had before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bella said knowledgeable businessmen will find good opportunities in Asia and especially in China, because China is creating very good conditions for foreign businesses and there are dynamic economic activities.
"When it (the farm) was created in 1956, nobody thought there would be such changes in six decades," Bella said, expecting lasting friendly cooperation for more decades to come.