10:48, October 18, 2023 The Third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation
On the afternoon of October 17, 2023, President Xi Jinping met at the Great Hall of the People with Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić who is in China to attend the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation.
Xi pointed out that Serbia is an ironclad friend of China, and bilateral relations have stood the test of the changing international situation and set a prime example of friendly relations between China and European countries. Cooperation between the two countries in such fields as infrastructure development and production capacity has yielded fruitful results, with practical cooperation growing in depth and breadth and improving in quality and efficiency. Xi noted that the important common understandings he reached with President Vučić in February last year to open direct flights between the two countries and negotiate and sign bilateral free trade agreement have been implemented and will inject new momentum into the development of China-Serbia relations in the new era.
Xi Jinping emphasized that in the face of profound changes of international landscape unseen in a century, both sides need to view China-Serbia relations from a strategic height and long-term perspective, firmly support each other on their respective core interests and major concerns, and back each other’s chosen path of development. China firmly supports Serbia in safeguarding national sovereignty and territorial integrity, and will further enhance the synergy of development strategies with Serbia, and transform the traditional friendship between China and Serbia into more practical cooperation results. Xi noted that both sides need to work together to build and operate well the Hungary-Serbia Railway, bring into full play the economic and social benefits of such projects as the HBIS Smederevo Steel Mill, and take solid steps to promote cooperation in key areas like infrastructure development. At the same time, both sides need to work actively to foster new growth drivers for cooperation in digital economy, technological innovation and other fields. Both sides also need to comprehensively strengthen cooperation in culture, education, tourism, sports and other fields to give the ironclad friendship between China and Serbia new glories in the new era.
Vučić said he has led a large government delegation to China to attend the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, which has demonstrated Serbia's respect and friendship for China and the importance Serbia attaches to China. Vučić noted that the Serbia-China relationship has withstood various tests, and Serbia firmly follows a friendly policy toward China and stands with China on all China-related issues. Serbia is firmly committed to the one-China policy, and is proud of the ironclad friendship it has with China. China has always respected and treated Serbia as a partner on an equal footing, and provided valuable support to the country in times of difficulties. China's assistance and cooperation have helped Serbia maintain sound economic development and delivered huge benefits to the Serbian people. Vučić said he was pleased that during this visit, the two sides will sign a free trade agreement and other cooperation documents, which will open up new prospects for bilateral cooperation. Serbia fully supports the Global Development Initiative, the Global Security Initiative and the Global Civilization Initiative proposed by President Xi Jinping, and will continue to actively participate in the Belt and Road cooperation and deepen friendly cooperation in various fields. He expressed the hope that the two sides will further strengthen people-to-people and cultural exchanges.
After the meeting, the two heads of state witnessed the signing of bilateral cooperation documents including the Mid-Term Action Plan for Belt and Road Cooperation, Memorandum of Understanding on Industrial and Investment Cooperation and the Free Trade Agreement.
Cai Qi and Wang Yi attended the above events.