"China is a country with a huge economic and human potential. We plan to work closely and continuously with the Chinese, without limiting our ties to business projects," Georgy Muradov said.
Crimea is going to build stronger social, cultural, cross-regional and inter-municipal relations with China and exchange information, the Crimean official specified.
He said Crimean authorities have laid out a 51-point roadmap for improving cooperation with one of the world’s largest economies. Specifically, Crimea is interested in attracting Chinese tourists to its seaside resorts and historic sites. The first group of holidaymakers from China traveled to the region last April.
Muradov said China's growing outbound tourism and an estimated 150 million of potential travelers could be good news for Crimea. Just 1 percent of this number would boost Crimea's tourist population by 20 percent, he calculated.
US President-elect Donald Trump’s suggestion he could recognize Crimea as part of Russia broke the ice around the Black Sea peninsula, Crimea’s envoy to the Russian president said.
"I’d like to point out that previously extremely hostile foreign attitudes to Crimea are changing as we speak. This change is reshaping investors’ views on the peninsula," Georgy Muradov said, linking this change to Trump’s stance on Crimea.
During the election campaign, Trump said the people in the region seemed to be more eager to be with Russia than with Ukraine.
"As soon as President-elect Trump made his objective remark about Crimea and suggested the people of Crimea would rather live in Russia, the tone of other politicians softened," he said.
While on campaign trail, Trump repeatedly called for dialogue with Russia, which was hit by US and EU sanctions in 2014. Separately, Washington slapped economic restrictions on Crimea, which voted overwhelmingly in a referendum to leave Ukraine and reunite with Russia in March 2014.