China-Serbia ties have become stronger over time, says Chinese envoy

2024-05-03 10:08:31 | Source:

BELGRADE, May 2 (Xinhua) -- The ironclad friendship between China and Serbia has been strengthened over time amid the changing international landscape and has continuously shown new vitality, a Chinese envoy has said.

China and Serbia have worked hand in hand in the high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, and in their stride toward modernization, Chinese Ambassador to Serbia Li Ming told Xinhua, adding that the development of the two countries have benefited their people.

At the invitation of Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, Chinese President Xi Jinping will pay a state visit to Serbia, eight years after his last visit to the European country.

Li said that the development of China-Serbia relations fully demonstrates that the personal attention and guidance from the two heads of state are the fundamental guarantee for ensuring that bilateral relations always run at a high level and make steady progress.

Xi visited Serbia in 2016, and Serbia became China's first comprehensive strategic partner in Central and Eastern Europe, he said, adding that the two presidents have met on many occasions and maintained correspondence and telephone exchanges in recent years, with bilateral relations continuously moving to new and high levels.

The ambassador noted that in recent years, under the strategic guidance of the two heads of state, China-Serbia relations have achieved leapfrog development, maintaining a high-level operation and reaching historic highs.

China and Serbia always firmly support each other's core interests and major concerns, understand each other and share similar views on international and regional affairs, and maintain close coordination in multilateral fields, he said, noting that Serbia supports the three major global initiatives put forward by China.

Economic and trade cooperation between the two countries has yielded fruitful results, with bilateral trade soaring from 596 million U.S. dollars in 2016 to 4.35 billion U.S. dollars in 2023. In 2022, China became the largest source of direct investment for Serbia.

Guided by the important consensus reached by the two heads of state, Li said China will work with Serbia to leverage mechanisms such as the free trade agreement between the two countries and the Mid-Term Action Plan for Belt and Road Cooperation, deepen cooperation in traditional fields such as trade, investment, and infrastructure construction, and explore cooperation potential in emerging fields such as technological innovation, digital economy and green transition, so as to inject vigorous impetus into the economic development of the two countries and bring benefits to their people.

Since 2016, the number of mutual visits between China and Serbia has grown rapidly. The enthusiasm for learning Chinese and Chinese culture continue to rise in Serbia, with an increasing number of Chinese language learners. Moreover, the number of Chinese universities offering Serbian language courses has also increased significantly, and the Chinese Cultural Center in Belgrade is now in operation.

The ambassador said that people of the two nations will get closer in the context of the continuous deepening of bilateral relations.

Li noted that during his visit to Serbia, Xi will have an in-depth exchange of views with Vucic on international and regional issues of common concern, as well as bilateral relations, explore ways to upgrade bilateral ties, chart course for the future development of bilateral relations, and enrich practical cooperation between the two countries.

China looks forward to working with Serbia to take this visit as an opportunity to further consolidate the ironclad friendship between the two countries, deepen political mutual trust, expand practical cooperation, open a new chapter in bilateral relations, and make new contributions to the building of a community with a shared future for mankind, Li said.