Xi Jinping ends his visit to Serbia – The two countries sign 28 documents on cooperation

The Chinese president, Xi Jinping, has completed his two-day official visit to Serbia. At a joint press conference, Xi said that the political trust between China and Serbia is “strong as a rock” with close coordination and a “steel friendship” which is growing stronger.

“The friendship between the two countries is mutual, real and true,” the Chinese President said. According to Xi, Serbia and China will start a new chapter in the history of their relations. He added that Serbia is the first country with which China will build a community with a joint future.

Xi went on to say that Beijing supports Serbia in preserving its sovereignty and territorial integrity in terms of Kosovo.

During the Chinese president’s visit, Serbia and China signed a total of 28 various documents stipulating the cooperation between the two countries.

The documents include agreements on extraditions and judicial assistance in civic and commercial matters, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on setting up a coordination mechanism to monitor the implementation of a medium-term intergovernmental action plan for the Belt and Road initiative, an MoU on cooperation in green and sustainable development, an MoU on strengthening cooperation in the digital economy, a protocol on advancement of economic and technical cooperation in the infrastructure sector, an MoU on cooperation in e-commerce, an intergovernmental agreement on cooperation and mutual assistance in customs affairs and an MoU on cooperation in poverty reduction through science and technology.

The two sides also signed an MoU on cooperation in information and communication technologies, an MoU on cooperation in geology and mining, a 2025-2028 program of cooperation in culture and a joint statement on the official establishment of a Chinese cultural centre in Belgrade, an MoU on cooperation in innovation in research and use of outer space for peaceful purposes, as well as an MoU on cooperation at the International Lunar Research station.

Furthermore, Serbia and China signed an MoU on cooperation in sports between the Serbian and Chinese Olympic committees, an intergovernmental agreement on economic and technical cooperation concerning grants, letters on preparing a feasibility study for a Smart Education and Digital Schools project, as well as an MoU on cooperation in the development of human resources and others.

Tanjug News Agency Managing Director Manja Grcic and Xinhua President Fu Hua exchanged an agreement on cooperation between the two news agencies.

Also, the two countries agreed on opening up new prospects of cooperation with a focus on the innovation dimension in bilateral relations and making innovation cooperation a new growth driver in the relationship. To that end, China will support 50 young Serbian scientists in taking part in scientific research exchanges in China in the next three years.

The U.S. envoy for the Western Balkans Gabriel Escobar said Xi’s visit to Europe, his first in five years, was intended to drive a wedge among the European states.

“We caution all of our partners and all of our interlocutors to be very aware of China’s agenda in Europe and China’s agenda with regard to the European community,” he said in an online press conference.

The New York Times noted that “By visiting Hungary and Serbia, Mr. Xi, according to analysts, wants to show that while China may be down as an influential player in East and Central Europe, it is not yet out. And, they say, it indicates he has not given up on a Chinese diplomatic initiative known as 16+1, a grouping of China and formerly communist European countries built around Mr Xi’s flagship Belt and Road program”.

The daily went on to say that Hungary and Serbia look to China “not only for economic gains but also to demonstrate to their domestic electorate that they pursue an independent policy”, adding that this also “demonstrates to the European Union and the United States that “they are not the only game in town”.

(B92, N1, 09.05.2024)



This post is also available in: Italiano

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