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China, Serbia to step up partnership

By An Baijie | China Daily | Updated: 2017-03-31 07:54

President Xi Jinping and Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic agreed on Thursday to push forward the development of the China-Serbia comprehensive strategic partnership to benefit the people of both countries.

The two countries should keep the current momentum of high-level communication and enhance governmental, legislative, political party and local-level exchanges, Xi told the Serbian president, who is visiting China from Tuesday to Saturday.

Noting that his state visit to Serbia in June last year was successful, Xi said China is willing to strengthen the all-weather friendship with Serbia. He called for close interconnection of the China-led Belt and Road Initiative and Serbia's national strategy of re-industrialization.

The two sides should push forward cooperation on major projects like the Budapest-Belgrade railway, explore joint industrial park construction and work together in areas including infrastructure, agriculture, biology and pharmacy, and renewable resources, Xi said.

"Just as Serbian people put it, good friends are better than brothers. So we are glad to welcome my old friend," Xi said. Hailing the visiting leader as a famous Serbian statesman, Xi spoke highly of Nikolic's contribution to the friendship between China and Serbia.

During Xi's state visit to Serbia in June, the two countries signed a joint declaration to lift the bilateral relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership, the first of its kind in Central and Eastern Europe.

The two sides also signed more than 20 cooperative documents during Xi's visit covering areas including investment, economy and trade, people-to-people exchanges and cultural communication.

Calling Xi a "dear good comrade and good friend", Nikolic said the Belt and Road Initiative is of great significance to the future and destiny of people from all nations.

Serbia appreciates China's principle of mutual trust and equal treatment in developing diplomatic ties, Nikolic said, stressing that Serbia will forever uphold the one-China policy.

After the meeting, Nikolic attended a ceremony at which he was made an honorary resident of Beijing.

Chen Xu, director of the Foreign Ministry's Department of Europe, said the talks between Xi and Nikolic were "fruitful and successful".

The two presidents have reached a consensus on deepening political trust, strengthening cooperation, jointly building the Belt and Road and enhancing cooperation under the framework of China and Central and Eastern European countries, he said.

 China, Serbia to step up partnership

President Xi Jinping welcomes Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Thursday.Feng Yongbin / China Daily

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