Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

Xi, Serbian Counterpart Hold Joint Press Conference

Thu 09 May 2024 | 10:04 AM
Chinese President and Serbian Counterpart
Chinese President and Serbian Counterpart
Nada Mustafa

At noon on May 8 local time, President Xi Jinping and President Aleksandar Vučić of Serbia jointly met the press after their talks at the Palace of Serbia in Belgrade.

At the outset, on behalf of the Chinese government and people, President Xi extended sincere greetings and best regards to President Vučić and the Serbian government, and to the brotherly people of Serbia.

President Xi noted that in 2016, he paid a state visit to Serbia and experienced the warm hospitality of the Serbian leadership and people. He said that it is a fond memory he still cherishes today, and coming back after eight years, he is heartened to see that under the leadership of President Vučić, the Serbian economic and social development has gained a strong momentum, its national strength and international standing have risen markedly, and the people’s standard of living has kept increasing. As true friends and good partners, China and Serbia enjoy rock-solid political mutual trust, upgraded practical cooperation, close and effective coordination on multilateral affairs, and an ironclad friendship that’s been growing from strength to strength.

President Xi described how touching it was that President Vučić and his wife, the prime minister, former president, speaker of the parliament, foreign minister and others welcomed him and his wife at the airport last night, and arranged special Serbian performances. He was again moved by the genuine friendliness of the Serbian people toward China and the Chinese people when he saw the huge crowds at the grand and heartwarming welcoming ceremony arranged by President Vučić in the morning. Before the press event, President Vučić and he had an in-depth exchange of views, in a cordial and friendly atmosphere, on the China-Serbia relationship and other issues of mutual interest, and they reached new, important and extensive consensus.

—The two leaders announced together to build a China-Serbia community with a shared future in the new era, which will open up a new chapter in the history of China-Serbia relations. Eight years ago, Serbia became China’s first comprehensive strategic partner in Central and Eastern Europe. Today, Serbia becomes the first European country to build a community with a shared future with China. This speaks volumes about the strategic, special and high-level relationship between the two countries.

—The two leaders agreed to enhance strategic communication to guide the building of the China-Serbia community with a shared future in the new era. The two sides will firmly support each other’s core interests and major concerns, and cement the political foundation for building this community. China supports Serbia in upholding its independence and following the development path that suits its own conditions. China supports Serbia’s efforts to safeguard sovereignty and territorial integrity on the Kosovo issue.

—The two leaders witnessed together the signing of multiple cooperation documents which will empower win-win cooperation between the two countries. High-quality Belt and Road cooperation between China and Serbia has produced substantial outcomes. The two sides will continue to advance quality and productive cooperation in a broad range of areas. This will provide a strong impetus to the economic and social development of the two countries. It is also a concrete step to promote universally beneficial and inclusive economic globalization.

—The two leaders agreed to steadily advance cooperation in traditional areas of strength such as transportation and energy infrastructure, and to make innovation cooperation a new growth driver for the bilateral relationship. The two sides will increase people-to-people exchanges in all sectors, fully advance cooperation in culture, education, sports, tourism and at the subnational level, and strengthen inter-party interactions and experience sharing on governance. The two sides will jointly implement the Global Development Initiative, the Global Security Initiative and the Global Civilization Initiative, and advance the building of a community with a shared future for mankind. The two sides will advocate fairness and justice, and jointly oppose hegemonism and power politics.

President Xi announced the first batch of six practical steps China will take to support the building of a China-Serbia community with a shared future in the new era.

First, as a result of the two sides’ joint efforts, the China-Serbia Free Trade Agreement will take effect on July 1 this year.

Second, China supports Serbia in hosting the Specialized Expo 2027, and will send a delegation to attend the event. Chinese businesses will also be encouraged to take part in relevant construction projects.

Third, China will import more high-quality agricultural specialties from Serbia. Procedures for the export of dried plums and blueberry to China have already been completed, and the restrictions related to highly pathogenic avian influenza have been lifted.

Fourth, China will support 50 young Serbian scientists in taking part in scientific research exchange in China in the next three years.

Fifth, China will invite 300 young Serbians to study in China in the next three years.

Sixth, China welcomes the opening of direct flights from Belgrade to Shanghai by Serbia, and encourages the two countries’ airlines to open direct flights from Belgrade to Guangzhou.

President Xi pointed out that a review of history shows that China-Serbia friendship is forged through our extraordinary fight together to promote world peace and development, and with the blood and lives of the two peoples. Looking to the future, the building of a China-Serbia community with a shared future in the new era is a strategic choice made by the two sides. It aims to meet the aspirations of the Chinese and Serbian people for a better life, and will be underpinned and sustained by their firm support and extensive participation. China will stand side by side with Serbia to jointly embark on the new journey toward a China-Serbia community with a shared future in the new era.

President Vučić noted that it is of significant importance to Serbia that President Xi pays another visit after eight years. Serbia-China cooperation has produced fruitful outcomes and brought tangible benefits to the Serbian people. He described his talks with President Xi as in-depth, extensive and inspiring. He and President Xi signed a joint statement announcing the building of a China-Serbia community with a shared future in the new era. He thanked President Xi for announcing the many practical measures to boost Serbia-China cooperation. He said Serbia takes proud in having such a great friend as China and in the new characterization of the Serbia-China relationship, and has every confidence in the future of this relationship. Serbia will continue to firmly stand with China on all issues concerning China’s core interests. The ironclad friendship between Serbia and China will not be disrupted or broken by any force.

Cai Qi, Wang Yi, among others, attended the event.