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Selakovic: Serbia is proud of its traditional friendship with China

Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia Nikola Selakovic met today with Ambassador of the People's Republic of China Chen Bo. Minister Selakovic said that Serbia was proud of the traditional friendship with China and the constant deepening of relations in all areas, which, as he emphasized, was raised to the level of a comprehensive strategic partnership during the historic visit of the Chinese President to Serbia.

He pointed out that the relationship between the two Presidents, Xi and Vucic, greatly contributed to that. The Minister expressed satisfaction with the fact that we were continuously witnessing the iron-clad friendship between Serbia and China in our cooperation, which, as he emphasized, was further galvanized in the last year during the pandemic. In addition to providing assistance in medical equipment, laboratories and experiences of Chinese experts, China's assistance to Serbia has continued through support for immunization of our population, that is, the delivery of the vaccine of the Chinese company "Sinopharm", for which we are especially grateful, especially to President Xi, at a time when all countries in the world are struggling and facing difficulties in procuring vaccines, Minister Selakovic said.

Furthermore, Selakovic pointed out that he was very glad for and extremely proud of the agreement between Serbia, China and the United Arab Emirates on the construction of a factory for the production of vaccines by the Chinese company Sinopharm in Serbia. Minister Selakovic also noted with pleasure the excellent cooperation between the two countries at the multilateral level, especially mutual support in international organizations. China is one of our main pillars in the fight for Kosovo and Metohija, Selakovic said and expressed gratitude to China for its principled support and respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Serbia. The Minister emphasized that Serbia strongly supported the policy of "one China" and was consistently committed to respecting international law and adhering to the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other states.

The Head of Serbian diplomacy also expressed satisfaction over the fact that excellent political relations and strategic partnership were reflected in the strengthening of economic cooperation between the two countries. China is the most important trading partner of Serbia in Asia and the third in terms of the total exchange of Serbia with the world, the Minister pointed out and specified that, owing to the "Belt and Road" and "17 + 1" formats, economic cooperation has tripled in the previous five years. Serbia's exports to China have increased 15 times in the last five years, Selakovic said, adding that every effort would be made to further strengthen cooperation in this area, to which the participation of Serbia in the upcoming China-CEEC EXPO in Ningbo would significantly contribute. He also expressed satisfaction with the growth of Serbian exports to China in the first three months of this year and the real possibility that trade exchange would exceed four billion euros this year. We are also glad about the planned opening of the Chinese Cultural Center in Belgrade by the end of the year, Selakovic said, recalling that that the foundation stone was laid during the visit by Chinese President Xi to Belgrade in June 2016.

He expressed hope that this and other projects we were working on together, whose realization was expected in the coming months, were an opportunity for the realization of the second visit by President Xi to Serbia, which, as he emphasized, would be one of the biggest events and honours for our country and our people.

The Minister noted that our country also attached great importance to the development of cooperation in the field of science and technology, and that the project of the Serbian-Chinese Industrial Park in Borca was of special importance in the period ahead. Selakovic informed the Ambassador about the first electronic service being provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs "e-Consulate", intended for foreign citizens, which would facilitate and speed up the submission of applications for work visas.

Bearing in mind that Chinese citizens were by far the most interested in this type of visa, with 9516 requests, the Minister pointed out that this electronic service was important both for Serbia and for numerous workers and engineers from China who were hired to perform works on infrastructure in our country.

21 May 2021


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