Full text of Xi's signed article in Serbian media
  ·  2024-05-08  ·   Source: Xinhua News Agency

A signed article by Chinese President Xi Jinping titled "May the Light of Our Ironclad Friendship Shine on the Path of China-Serbia Cooperation" was published Tuesday in Serbian media Politika.

The following is an English version of the full text of the article:

May the Light of Our Ironclad Friendship Shine on the Path of China-Serbia Cooperation

Xi Jinping, President of the People's Republic of China

When summer comes, all beings flourish. This is what makes summer the season of hope. I will pay a state visit to the Republic of Serbia at the invitation of President Aleksandar Vučić. This will be my second visit to your country, a land of beauty and legends, as President of the People's Republic of China. The sweet scenes that prevailed during my last visit eight years ago remain very much alive in my mind. The close cooperation between our two countries over the past eight years has delivered fruitful outcomes. I look forward to meeting with President Aleksandar Vučić and other Serbian leaders and friends to renew our friendship, explore ways of cooperation, and make the ironclad friendship between China and Serbia more dynamic.

There has always been an affinity between Chinese and Serbian peoples despite the long distance between us. During the bitter Anti-Fascist War and our respective nation-building in the last century, the Chinese and Serbian peoples forged a strong friendship that extends through time and space. Amid the ongoing transformations unseen in a century in the world, our mutual support remains as strong as ever, our cooperation is closer, and our exchanges and mutual learning more substantive. Whatever changes in the international landscape, China and Serbia remain true friends and good partners. Our ironclad friendship is ever-growing, setting a model for state-to-state and people-to-people interactions.

Our two countries have always respected and trusted each other. President Vučić and I have developed a good working relationship through our meetings, phone calls, and exchanges of letters. Our two countries have also maintained frequent exchanges at all levels and in all areas. We fully appreciate and respect the development paths that our respective nation has chosen. We uphold fairness and justice, firmly support each other on issues that bear on our respective core interests and are of major concern to us. We have kept close and smooth coordination and collaboration at the bilateral and multilateral levels. We have built an ever stronger comprehensive strategic partnership that is delivering tangible outcomes.

Our two countries have stayed committed to mutual benefit. Serbia is China's first free trade partner in Central and Eastern Europe. Last year, China was Serbia's largest source of foreign investment and its second largest trading partner. Our thriving cooperation in trade and economic relations, industrial chain, and infrastructure development lends a great boost to our respective process of modernization. In 2016, I visited the Smederevo steel plant of HBIS Serbia, which has become one of the three biggest export companies in Serbia. Serbian honey, red wine, beef, lamb and other agricultural products are very popular among Chinese consumers.

Our two countries have always helped each other. Following the COVID-19 outbreak, I spoke with President Vučić twice on the phone and we agreed on a collaborative response to the pandemic. China provided assistance, prioritized the provision of multiple shipments of protective medical supplies, and sent medical experts to Serbia. On its part, Serbia provided full support to China in implementing its "Spring Sprout" program to vaccinate Chinese citizens living and working in Serbia. Nongovernmental organizations in Serbia voluntarily donated masks and other supplies to the Chinese people. Our mutual support in challenging times testifies to our invaluable brotherly friendship.

Our two countries have always been learning from each other. We are both committed to delivering a better life for our peoples and making our countries strong and prosperous. We have implemented many programs to share experience in governance, and have enhanced exchanges between our political parties. Our peoples have warm feelings toward each other, as evidenced by the robust cultural, sports, tourism and people-to-people exchanges. Nikola Jokić, the Serbian basketball superstar, personally cheered on players of Chinese rural basketball games. China and Serbia have agreed on a mutual visa-free arrangement for ordinary passport holders, which facilitates people-to-people exchanges and bilateral cooperation.

A Chinese axiom goes, "Friends are those who are like-minded." And Serbians would say, "Friends are the greatest asset in life." The long-lasting friendship and win-win cooperation between China and Serbia makes it clear to us that a stronger bilateral relationship conforms with the trend of history and serves the best interests of our two peoples. It also helps promote our common progress. On the new journey of the new era, the China-Serbia comprehensive strategic partnership has more potential for further growth. During my upcoming visit, I will work with my Serbian friends to bring out the best in our ironclad friendship and take real efforts to deliver more benefits to our two peoples, advance world peace and development, and promote the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.

We should always be good friends and treat each other with sincerity. We will deepen and expand our comprehensive strategic partnership. We will continue to show each other understanding, trust, support and assistance. We will remain steadfast in supporting each other on issues that bear on our respective core interests and are of major concern to us. China respects and supports the development path that the Serbian people have chosen of their own will. We support Serbia's efforts to uphold its sovereignty and territorial integrity, and oppose any attempt by any forces to interfere in Serbia's internal affairs.

We should always be good partners for win-win cooperation. China is striving for its modernization in all respects through high-quality development, and moving faster to develop new quality productive forces. Serbia has achieved remarkable economic and social development in recent years. Our two countries should further unleash the potential of our mutually beneficial cooperation. We should deliver on the midterm action plan for Belt and Road cooperation, and build more flagship projects. We should expand cooperation in technological innovation, advanced manufacturing, green energy, digital economy, artificial intelligence and other emerging areas. We should share development opportunities and create a better future together.

We should always play an exemplary role in promoting fairness and justice. As ironclad friends and defenders for world peace, China and Serbia hold similar positions on many major international and regional issues. Facing a fluid and turbulent world, we should step up coordination and cooperation in the United Nations and other international organizations, and advocate an equal and orderly multipolar world and a universally beneficial and inclusive economic globalization. We should practice true multilateralism, and endeavor to maintain world peace and stability and safeguard international fairness and justice.

We should always strengthen the heart-to-heart connection between our two peoples. Our ironclad friendship has withstood the test of blood and fire, and shines even brighter in the new era. We should promote multi-dimensional people-to-people and cultural exchanges, and diversify subnational cooperation. We should make good use of the combined effect of "mutual visa exemption plus direct flights" as well as our respective cultural centers to promote cooperation in education, sports, culture and tourism. We should create more opportunities for our youth so that the China-Serbia friendship will be carried forward from generation to generation.

Twenty-five years ago today, NATO flagrantly bombed the Chinese embassy in Yugoslavia, killing three Chinese journalists-Ms. Shao Yunhuan, Mr. Xu Xinghu and his wife Zhu Ying. This we should never forget. The Chinese people cherish peace, but we will never allow such tragic history to repeat itself. The China-Serbia friendship, forged with the blood of our compatriots, will stay in the shared memory of the Chinese and Serbian peoples, and will inspire us to march forward with big strides.

While looking back at the journey our two countries have traveled together, we also look forward to the promising future we aspire to embrace. We have now come to a new historic milestone. We on the Chinese side are ready to work hand in hand with our Serbian friends to make our shared aspiration and common progress a reality. Together we will write a new chapter in the development and rejuvenation of our nations. Together we will build a China-Serbia community with a shared future in the new era. Flowers in spring will turn into fruits in autumn. The tree of China-Serbia friendship will grow tall and sturdy and bear more fruits for our two peoples. This is what we expect and what we hope to witness together.

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