A senior European official said Wednesday he was "really impressed" by China's achievements and the advancements made in Tibet.
"Through the visit to Tibet, I have seen the Tibetan people have the right to fully express their religious beliefs, and they are having a happy life," said Jelko Kacin, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Slovenian Assembly.
Kacin is currently on a 10-day official goodwill visit to China.
He met Jiang Chunyun, vice-chairman of the Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress (NPC), and Zeng Jianhui, chairman of the NPC Foreign Affairs Committee, as well as other Chinese officials.
Kacin said that the Chinese city he was most impressed with was Lhasa.
It is obvious the Chinese government has attached great importance to the development of Tibet, he said.
He noted that the temples in Lhasa are well maintained and refurbished.
With further infrastructure improvements, Tibet will become more open to the outside world like the rest of China, and will attract more tourists, Kacin said.
"Tibet has made enormous achievements," said Kacin, who is visiting China as a guest of the NPC Foreign Affairs Committee.
On bilateral relations, Kacin said that the relationship with China will always be one of his country's most important bilateral relationships.
Slovenia and China have maintained frequent exchanges of high-level visits in recent years, which have deepened the friendship and mutual understanding, Kacin said.
He said that Slovenia will join the European Union (EU) very soon and will be happy to serve as a "bridge" between China and the EU.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the establishment of friendly relations between Ljubljana, Slovenia's capital, and Chengdu, the capital city of southwest China's Sichuan Province.
Kacin said that he hopes the two cities will take the opportunity to promote bilateral contact and cooperation, especially in the trade and economic sectors.
Speaking about his trips to Shenzhen and Zhuhai, two coastal cities in Guangdong Province, Kacin said he was surprised to see the excellent environment and rapid economic development of the coastal region in south China.
"There is no such case in other parts of the world, and the present situation of Shenzhen and Zhuhai convincingly promises China's future," Kacin said.
He reiterated that his country will continue to stick to the one-China principle, and said the Slovenia Olympics Committee will certainly support Beijing's bid for the 2008 Olympic Games.
Kacin said he hopes the two countries will learn from each other in their development and believes there will be more cooperation between business people from the two sides.
(China Daily 06/14/2001)