Chinese premier visits bridge construction in Croatia

Chinese premier visits bridge construction in Croatia
China's Premier Li Keqiang, left, and Croatia's Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic gesture after symbolically starting a machine at the construction site of a bridge built by a Chinese company and largely EU founded, in Brijesta, Southern Croatia, Thursday, April 11, 2019. Croatia is hosting a summit on Thursday for China and 16 European countries that endorsed Beijing's global "Belt and Road" initiative. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)

BRIJESTA, Croatia (AP) — Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang has visited a construction site in Croatia where a major European Union-funded bridge is being built by a Chinese state-owned company.

The China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) won in 2018 an international bid to construct the 2.4 kilometer-long bridge over the Adriatic Sea.

The 420 million-euro construction is 85% financed by the EU, and is a rare Chinese project in Europe that went through a regular bidding process.

EU member Croatia is hosting a two-day summit starting Thursday between China and 16 regional countries on expanding business between China and the region.

EU officials worry that the Chinese investments boost the Asian country’s economic and political clout in the region.