SUPPORT BEYOND THE BELT AND THE ROAD
REPUBLIC OF SERBIA AND PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA
Ancient, mysterious and beautiful China has taken one of the main roles on the global economic and political scene in the last few decades. With an average annual economic growth of 10% in the last 30 years, this country with 1.4 billion citizens is the second largest global economy today.
China is the world’s largest producer of aluminum and steel. Chinese technology companies have quickly become leaders in the global market. It is the world leader in solar technology. Beijing is one of the most powerful cities in the world in economic and diplomatic fields and one of the global centers of education, business, science and technology. Beijing’s Financial Street is considered to be the main financial street in the world. The city of Shanghai is a global center for innovation and transportation and the busiest cargo port in the world. China is the world`s factory which has proven that economic wonders are possible.
At the same time, modern China is proud of its civilization, culture, language and art. “Four great inventions” of ancient Chinese civilization is a popular name for compass, gunpowder, paper and print, while acupuncture, fireworks, ink or porcelain are just some of its discoveries without which modern life would not be as we know it today.
Bilateral relations between Serbia and China
Official diplomatic relations between the Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia and China were established back in 1955. Their history is characterized by mutual support in foreign policy and economic areas, confirmed by exchanges of visits of state delegations at various levels. The first visit to China was made by President Josip Broz Tito in 1977, while the return visit of the high party-state delegation of the People’s Republic of China, led by Hua Guofeng, chairman of the CPC Central Committee and Prime Minister of the State Council, took place on August 21-28, 1978. The first Chinese President to pay an official visit to Belgrade was Li Xiannian in August 1984. In line with the recognized importance of cooperation, relations with China have been given priority in Serbia’s foreign policy development, in addition to relations with the European Union, the Russian Federation and the United States.
The People’s Republic of China has provided support to Serbia in preserving its territorial integrity and has not recognized the independence of the self-proclaimed state of Kosovo. The country also voted against Kosovo’s admission to UNESCO in 2015.
Belt and Road Initiative
Simultaneously with improving its internal policies, China also offers a program of cooperation to other states in order to achieve joint development. The result of this attitude is the Belt and Road Initiative, a new mechanism for achieving synergy at international level, which also aims at improving economic and cultural connections and cooperation between Asia, Europe and Africa.
Originally announced in 2013 with the goal of restoring the ancient Silk Road which connected Asia and Europe, the scope of the project has expanded over years to include new territories and development initiatives. It includes the construction of a extensive network of roads, railways, seaports, electricity networks, oil and gas pipelines and related infrastructure facilities. The Initiative is included in the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China in 2017. It is one of the largest investment projects in history, covering more than 68 countries with 60% of the world’s population and approximately 35% of the global economy.
After Serbia and China signed agreements on cooperation for the joint construction of projects within the Belt and Road Initiative, trade between the two countries has increased rapidly. The value of the projects in which Chinese companies participated reached several billion US dollars. Some of the most important include Pupin Bridge, sections of Corridors 10 and 11, bypass around Belgrade, investments in RTB Bor and Smederevo steelmill, as well as the construction of the Belgrade-Budapest high-speed railway.
Historically, the old Silk Road did not imply just trade goods, but also the exchange of knowledge, discoveries and cultures. Likewise, the new one brought help and support from Chinese experts and equipment during the first days of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Serbia and China jointly built two “Vatreno oko” laboratories, and Chinese experts spent 82 days in Serbia at the time of the epidemic, which was of great importance for our country.
Further joint contribution to the preservation of international law and justice
In line with the traditional friendly relations, in a letter sent to the President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic in July 2020, the President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping stated that, despite the coronavirus pandemic, the relations between Serbia and China continue to progress.
– I pay great attention to the development of Chinese-Serbian relations and I am ready to work with you to continually stenghten bilateral friendly relations and cooperation in various fields, but also to preserve international law and justice in order to provide our active contribution to building common destiny of mankind”, reads the letter of President Xi.
President of the Republic of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic and the President of the People’s Republic of China, Xi Jinping